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Boston University 

College of Liberal Arts 








Neto ¥orfc: 




Copyright 1904 


Press of 

The New Era Printins Compamv, 

Lancaster, pa. 




As far as the author is aware, this is the first study 
from the original sources of the provincial government 
of North Carolina embracing the whole period, and 
from the point of view of England as well as that of 
the colony. Four of the ten chapters were published, 
in a very limited edition, during the year 1901, but in 
form of statement these have been changed in a de- 
cided manner. To Professor Herbert L. Osgood, of 
Columbia University, the author acknowledges his pro- 
found gratitude for assistance rendered in many ways. 
The kind assistance of Professors Kemp Plummer 
Battle, Henry Horace Williams and Edward Kidder 
Graham, of the University of North Carolina, in read- 
ing the manuscript and proof is also acknowledged.' 

VI 1 



INTRODUCTION: A Review of the Proprietary Period. 

Its object 1 

The outline 1_16 

The kind of government proposed 16-22 

The kind of government in actual operation 22-25 

The results of this government 25-26 

The transition from proprietary to crown government 26 



His relations to the crown 27 

His commissions and instructions 27-28 

His territorial powers and duties. . . 28-29 

His general administrative powers and duties 29-33 

His military powers and duties 33-34 

His law-making powers and duties 34-36 

His judicial powers and duties 36-37 

The character and administration of Burrington 38-46 

The character and administration of Johnston 46-53 

The character and administration of Dobbs 53-60 

The character and administration of Try on 60-65 

The character and administration of Martin 65-69 

The efficiency of the governor 69-70 



Its relations to the governor 71 

How it was provided for 71-72 

Its executive and legislative functions 72-73 



Its territorial powers and duties 73-74 

Its general administrative powers and duties 74-75 

Its judicial powers and duties 75 

Its legislative powers and duties 75-77 

Its efficiency as an executive and a legislative body 77-78 

The council and Burrington 79-80 

The council and Johnston 80-81 

The council and Dobbs 81-82 

The council and Tryon 82 

The council and Martin 83 

The character of the most prominent councillors 83-84 




Its relation to the governor and the council 85 

How provided for 85-86 

Its privileges from the crown 86-87 

Its privileges which it claimed apart from the crown 87-88 

Its suffrage 88-89 

Its number of representatives 89-92 

Its territorial powers and duties 93-94 

Its general administrative powers and duties 94-95 

Its powers and duties of defence 95-97 

Its judicial powers and duties 97 

Its law-making powers and duties 98-99 

Its efficiency 99-100 


The relations of land, finance, justice and defence to the foregoing. 101 

The importance of a territorial system 101-02 

That of the proprietors also to be studied: the crown allowed 

much of their system and policy to continue 102 

The proprietors and their charters from the crown 102-03 

Their system and policy 103-08 


The size of their grants 108-09 

The purchase of seven-eighths by the crown 109-10 

Granville's portion 111-12 

His system and policy 112-14 

The system and policy under the crown 114- 

Its land office 115-17 

The size and conditions of its grants 118-19 

Quit-rents 119-21 

Processioning 122 

Registration 122-23 

Escheat and forfeiture 123-24 

The efficiency of the system and its administration 124 



Their importance 12o 

The crown's policy : not fully carried out 125-29 

The forms of moneys: the position of the proprietors and colon- 
ists, of the crown and colonists, concerning them. ..." 129- 

Sterling 129 

Barter and commodities 129-30 

Bills of credit 130-40 

Treasury notes 141-44 

Debenture notes 143-45 

The control of the public treasures 145-46 

Taxation 146-47 


The judicial feature of government 148 

Its relations to the provincial executive and legislature 148 

Its relation to the crown 148-49 

The system and administration under the crown: not very dif- 
ferent from those under the proprietors 149 

The court of exchequer 149-50 

The court of admiralty 150 


The court of chancery 150-51 

The superior courts of pleas and grand sessions 151-59 

The courts of oyer and terminer 159-61 

The jury system 161 

The inferior courts of pleas and quarter sessions 162-64 

The magistrate's courts 164-65 

The clerk of pleas 16 

The clerks of the county courts 165-66 

The clerks of the superior courts on the circuit 166 

The judicial process and its efficiency 166-67 



The necessity and purpose of 168 

The system 168-70 

Its development , . . . . 170-75 

Its strength and weakness 175-76 

For local defence 176-78 

For British defence 178-84 

Its influence upon provincial politics 184-85 



Their general position toward each other 186 

Their conflicts chiefly of a constitutional nature 187 

Land : the governor and the lower house 187-91 

Land: the council and the lower house 191-93 

Fees : the governor and the lower house 193-96 

Fees : the council and the lower house 196-97 

Money — treasurer : the governor and the lower house 197-03 

Money — treasurer: the council and the lower house 204-05 

Agent : the governor and the lower house 205-07 

Agent : the council and the lower house 207-08 

Courts and judges: the governor and the lower house 208-14 


Courts and judges: the council and the lower house 214-16 

Constitutional privileges: the governor and the lower house 216-18 

Constitutional privileges : the council and the lower house 218-19 

Summary 219-20 



This to be studied in the history of the whole royal period 221-22 

The different points of view of the crown and the colonists 222-27 

The trade policy 227-31 

The stamp act ; its effects 231-37 

The " regulation " 237-38 

Martin's administration 238- 

Its fiscal questions 239-41 

Its struggles over courts and judges 241-45 

The spirit of resistance and revolt 245-47 

The provincial congress ; its spirit and declaration of principles . . 247-48 
The continental congress; its spirit and influence upon North 

Carolina 248-49 

Martin flees to Fort Johnston and to the royal sloop Cruizer 249 

The county committees of safety 249-50 

The end of the old system 250-51 

The third provincial congress 250-51 



A Review of the Proprietary Period. 

The life of one particular period in the development 
of a people, as of an individual, has a most intimate 
relation with that of former periods. The history and 
the development of North Carolina after 1729, when the 
crown assumed control of it, were, therefore, pro- 
foundly influenced by that of the proprietary period, 
which began with the year 1663 ; the economic, political 
and social forces of the earlier years of the colony 's life 
continued on, to a very considerable extent, throughout 
the royal period. For this reason, therefore, it is 
necessary to consider at least the general outline of the 
development under the patentees. The details of their 
administration, so far as they pertain to land, finance, 
justice and defence, will receive due consideration un- 
der the chapters devoted, almost exclusively, to these 
subjects. Here it is necessary only to trace in out- 
line and to discuss the general powers, duties and 
policies of the proprietors, with the effects of their 

Carolina, including what was afterwards to become 
South Carolina and North Carolina, became a proprie- 
tary province in 1663. It was transferred back to the 
crown in 1729, when the patentees sold seven-eighths 
1 l 


of their lands and surrendered all of their powers of 
government. Prior to the date of its becoming a pro- 
prietary province there had been two attempts, though 
unsuccessful, to colonize this territory. In 1584, under 
a patent from Queen Elizabeth, Sir Walter Raleigh 
obtained the right to explore and settle any lands in 
North America not already occupied by any Christian 
prince, that is by any European power. Having such 
rights and privileges, Raleigh sent out during the next 
six years five different parties for exploration and 
settlement, but none of these were successful, at least 
for any appreciable duration. He spent practically 
forty thousand pounds, a large sum for those days, in 
these attempts. Realizing no returns and discouraged 
by his complete failure he surrendered his patent. 1 
Again, in 1629, a second attempt was made toward col- 
onizing this same territory. A patent was now issued 
by Charles I. to Sir Robert Heath, covering the lands 
from the thirty-first to the thirty- sixth degree north 
latitude ; and the name of this grant was to be Caro- 
lina, 2 Heath made no settlement, assigning his rights 
and privileges, and the assignee likewise made none. 
This patent was declared null by the king in council, on 
the ground of no settlement having been made, as was 
required by the terms of the patent, and in 1663 Charles 
II. issued a charter for Carolina to eight lords proprie- 
tors, with the same territorial limits as specified in the 
grant to Heath; two years later these limits were en- 
larged, a new charter being issued which included all 

i Hawks I, 11-17, 69-254. 
*C. R. I, 5-13. 


the lands between the degrees of twenty-nine and 
thirty-six and a half north latitude. 1 This territory 
was now no longer unsettled, as just prior to the issuing 
of the first charter the northern part of the grant was 
permanently settled by people from Virginia. 2 

These grantees were much more able to utilize their 
privileges and to discharge their duties than either of 
the other patentees had been. They were among the 
leading characters and statesmen of England, five of 
them holding high office of state, the most of them hav- 
ing been loyal to the crown during the tumultuous 
periods of the civil war and of the commonwealth. It 
is most probable that the king used this as a means of 
rewarding his able supporters, though in so doing he 
was giving away many of his powers and rights. 
These lords proprietors were: the Earl of Clarendon, 
the high chancellor ; the Duke of Albemarle, the master 
of the horse and captain-general of all the forces; 
Lord, afterwards Earl, Craven ; Lord Berkley, council- 
lor; Lord Ashley, afterwards Earl of Shaftesbury, the 
chancellor of the exchequer ; Sir George Carteret, coun- 
cillor; Sir John Colleton; and Sir William Berkley, the 
governor of Virginia. 

These patentees having all the powers of the Bishop 
of Durham, established in their province, or at least 
attempted to do so, a provincial system of government, 
after the type of the county-palatine of Durham ; their 
"fundamental constitutions, ' ' which have become so 
famous, were based upon this idea— of a strong and 

i C. R. I, 20-33, 102-114. 

2 Herring's Statutes at Large of Virginia I, 380-81. 


highly centralized form of government. 1 That this 
was their ideal there is much evidence ; but in reality it 
was impossible for such a system to be carried out, at 
least to any very considerable extent, in a country as 
new and thinly settled as Carolina was. In attempting 
to establish such a system in their province they were 
originating no new plan, as this was the old system of 
feudal England and of many of the continental states. 
By their charters they were made absolute lords over 
Carolina, having all the powers of proprietors of the 
soil and of the government which attended a possession 
of the soil. In reality, however, their governing pow- 
ers were subject to limitations; the circumstances 
accompanying colonization in these lands operated very 
strongly to change and even to set aside the political 
theories and plans of such a nature. Unless specified 
in the charters, the crown could place no restrictions 
upon the patentees; their laws were in theory to be 
binding upon the colonists. The king had no right to 
disapprove them and, therefore, to set them aside, the 
only body having the right to modify them being the 
parliament of England. 2 

As we have stated, the northern portion of Carolina 
had been settled to a slight degree prior to 1663; the 
southern part was to be colonized under the proprie- 
tors. These two settlements were separated from each 
other by a very considerable distance, the grant for 
Carolina being large, and until 1691 each had its own 
governor. 3 From this time to 1712 there was only one 

i C. K. I, 22, 103, 187-20G. 

2 C. R. II, 142-43. 

3 C. R. I, 48-50, 162-75, 181-82. 


governor over the whole province; and he resided at 
Charleston, in the southern settlement, while the north- 
ern one was under a deputy governor, appointed and 
commissioned by him. 1 In fact, the proprietors now 
intended to have but one governor and one legislative 
assembly for their whole grant, though it had two sepa- 
rate and distinct settlements, and these a very consid- 
erable distance apart. But it was easily seen that the 
two plantations were separated by too great a distance 
for such a plan to operate at all successfully, and, there- 
fore, the patentees granted to the colonists of the north- 
ern portion a separate legislative assembly, with a 
deputy governor as their chief executive. By such an 
arrangement this settlement, now known at times as 
North Carolina, though usually called Albemarle, gov- 
erned itself almost as its colonists desired, the deputy 
governor having very little influence; he was not a 
direct agent of the proprietors. This plan operating so 
poorly for the proprietary interests, they, during the 
latter part of 1710, determined upon having a separate 
governor for North Carolina, as well as for South 
Carolina, and Edward Hyde was at once appointed to 
such an office, though his commission was not issued 
until early in 1712. 2 

The period under the deputy governors was marked 
by unsuccessful administration, in fact, by great dis- 
turbances, and in this respect was not unlike that of 
the preceding seventeen years. For the first ten or 
eleven years the proprietors exercised a fairly strong 

i C. R. I, 373-82, 389-90, 554-57, 694-96, 707, 731, 773. 
2 C. R. I, 749-50, 841. 


control over the colonists of the Albemarle province, 
but from 1674 to 1712 the colonists knew little 
governmental restraints excepting of their own making 
and drove out of office six of their fourteen governors or 
deputy governors. 1 During this time occurred two so- 
called rebellions. In 1677 came the Culpepper upris- 
ing, bringing great disturbance to the proprietors and 
to an extent to the colonists, closing their courts, sub- 
verting their government, and even casting into prison 
some of the deputies of the proprietors. 2 Its leader 
was John Culpepper, most likely a bold and ambitious 
man, and he was aided by some of the New England 
skippers. The colonists of North Carolina and the 
skippers of New England were unwilling to pay cus- 
toms duties to the crown on the tobacco exported from 
the province, and avoid them they most certainly would, 
if possible. Their revolt was, therefore, purely on 
economic grounds. The insurrectionists armed them- 
selves, seized the provincial and customs records, 
turned out of office Thomas Miller, a duly appointed 
collector of the king's customs, cleared and discharged 
ships without their paying duties on the tobacco with 
which they were laden, established courts, even for the 
hearing of cases involving life, and seized funds belong- 
ing to the treasury of England, collected as customs 
duties. They claimed that all this was done only 
for the time, until the duly appointed governor— 
Eastchurch— should arrive, and upon the ground that 
Miller was not the legal governor, not being appointed 

i C. E. I, 48-220 ; Hawks II, 440-526. 
2 C. R. I, 256-61, 328; Hawks II, 464-81. 


directly by the proprietors to such an office. Part of 
this claim was well founded, as in fact Miller was not 
the legal governor ; he was only acting as president of 
the council and ex officio chief executive until East- 
church should come. His commission was issued by 
Eastchurch, not by the proprietors. But he was duly 
appointed by the crown as collector of customs and by 
the proprietors as secretary of the province; and to 
deprive him of the right to discharge the duties of these 
offices, to cast him and several of the lawful magistrates 
into prison, was wholly beyond law, and such conduct 
will always be denounced as insurrection or rebellion. 1 
This insurrection, to be sure, was on the largest scale 
of any of the disturbances which occurred prior to 
1704, but it was by no means the only one, for during 
this period the proprietors were not at all successful 
in administering the affairs of their province. In fact 
they were devoting very little intelligent attention 
to either settlement, and especially to Albemarle. The 
governors and deputy governors were weak and often 
dishonest, while the colonists were simple farmers, 
disposed to claim much for themselves in the way 
of independent action. 2 From 1680 to 1704 their ad- 
ministration was of much better order, but this was to 
be disturbed by another insurrection of considerable 
proportions, covering practically the period from 1704 
to 1710. The immediate cause of the beginning of this 
trouble was the appointment of a deputy governor, 
Eobert Daniel, a man whose high church convictions 

i C. R. I, 264-328; Hawks II, 468. 
2 C. R. I, 329-63, 373-84. 


and ideas were very decided. "When lie came to North 
Carolina, he attempted to carry out in this settlement 
the plan which had been given to South Carolina, at 
least for the time— that is to make it Anglican in its 
church establishment. In some way he secured the 
passage of an act to this effect. But the colonists had 
many different religious convictions and probably a 
goodly number cared very little for religious ideas at 
all, certainly not if organized into a state establish- 
ment. The Quakers, though not numerous, held the 
balance of power in several parts of the colony, and 
they most certainly were opposed to an established 
church. 1 This action on the part of Daniel, while not 
being a new idea to the colonists, was still regarded by 
the Dissenters as radical and contrary to their own 
interests. Though it was evidently the original inten- 
tion of the proprietors to have such an establishment 
in the colony, still practically nothing was done for this 
prior to 1700. 2 However, in 1701, the Anglicans had 
sufficient influence to secure an act establishing a 
church. By this a poll tax was to be levied upon all the 
colonists for the support of the establishment. But 
the opposition to such an act was very strong and 
decided ; it became so much so in the legislature of 1703 
that the act would have been repealed had the proprie- 
tors not already disallowed it, not on the ground of 
principle but of certain defects in its provisions. 3 The 

1C. R. I, 521 et seq.; II, 867-82; Hawks II, 503-07; McCrady I, 
367-69 ; Week's Relig. Dev., 33-4, 46 et seq. 

2 C. R. I, passim ; Week's Relig. Dev., 32-36. 

3 C. R. I, 544, 559-61, 572, 601. 


first struggle, therefore, for an established church 
ended in failure and created a strong feeling among the 
colonists, which assumed the spirit of rebellion; the so- 
called Carey rebellion of 1705-1710 arose mainly from 
religious causes. This spirit was strong when Daniel 
came to the province. 

In practice, at least, North Carolina had enjoyed 
absolute toleration before 1701, in spite of the inten- 
tions of the proprietors. 1 Prior to this the Anglican 
forces had been comparatively weak and the Dissenters 
strong enough to prevent anything like an establish- 
ment. But now the forces in favor of an established 
church were much strengthened by the formation of 
the English society for the propagation of the gospel 
and further by the appointment of Daniel as deputy 
governor; they were now determined upon realizing 
their desires and at once after Daniel's arrival they 
obtained the passage of a vestry law, not so very dif- 
ferent from the act of 1701. On the other hand, the 
Dissenters were equally bent upon defeating this plan ; 
they struggled to have the law disallowed. They were 
opposed to it on the ground of principle, desiring 
complete religious toleration, as well as upon economic 
grounds, because it meant the paying of taxes for its 
support. North Carolina was not alone in this strug- 
gle, as her neighbor to the south was doing almost the 
same thing and at almost the same time. 2 

iC. R. I, 34, 45, 54, 80, 81, 95, 100, 10G, 109, 187-207; Week's Relig. 
Dev., 13, 39. 

2 C. R. I, 709; II, 863-82; Week's Relig. Dev., 40-47; McCrady I, 


All of this was creating a spirit of unrest among the 
colonists, particularly concerning ecclesiastical ques- 
tions. Consequently when the act of the British par- 
liament, requiring the oath of allegiance from all Eng- 
lish subjects to the queen and the heirs of the Protes- 
tant line, 1 arrived in North Carolina and was presented 
to the officers by the deputy governor, the Quakers at 
once refused to take the oath under the pretext that 
such action was inconsistent with their religious teach- 
ings. In consequence of this refusal, Daniel dismissed 
from office the Quakers who held positions in the lower 
house, council, or judicial system, and then secured the 
passage of an act declaring that no one could hold office 
without taking this oath of allegiance to the English 
crown. 2 Such a law would drive from office a goodly 
number of Dissenters, especially Quakers, who, though 
they had not been in public positions for any length 
of time, already held the balance of power. Dan- 
iel was removed from his position as chief execu- 
tive, whether or not by the influence of the Quak- 
ers we do not know. Thomas Carey was appointed 
in 1705 to take his place. 4 Apparently Carey's ap- 
pointment was very agreeable to the Quakers, but upon 
asking the officers to take the oath of allegiance to the 
queen he met with almost the same opposition that 
Daniel had. The Quakers were again dismissed from 
office and an act was passed placing a fine upon them for 

1 Statutes of the Realm, 1 Anne c. 16. 

2 C. R. I, 709. 

3 C. R. I, 709; Hawks II, 440; McCrady I, 278-87, 720. 

* C. R. I, 709, 723, 725, 801 ; Week's Relig. Dev., 50-51. 


holding office without taking the said oath. 1 His op- 
ponents in 1706 became so strongly opposed to him, 
because of his official or personal conduct, that they 
sent an agent to England whose specific mission was 
to appeal to the proprietors against his administra- 
tion, particularly against such requirements as he had 
made in regard to the oath of allegiance; and most 
probably this agent made an appeal against the estab- 
lishment of the Anglican Church. His mission was in 
part successful; at least Carey was removed from 
office, though it is probable that his removal was due to 
the fact that he had created a disturbance in enforc- 
ing the oath, and, therefore, meant in reality no yield- 
ing on the part of the patentees to the Dissenters. 
That the proprietors were especially displeased with 
Carey there is little evidence, his removal being mainly 
a matter of compromise. He was perhaps very rigid 
in his attempts to discharge certain official duties and 
thereby offended the Dissenters who for a long period 
had enjoyed complete toleration.' 2 In fact the oath of 
allegiance had nothing whatever to do with an Anglican 
establishment or with taking away the toleration which 
had hitherto been allowed, but in sentiment it was really 
and closely connected with such ideas, at least in the 
minds of the Dissenters. They thought that it was only 
the beginning of a strong establishment, in fact, their 
opposition to it was largely for this reason. 

William Glover was now chosen president of the 
council and as such became the chief executive. He, 

i c. R. I, 709. 

2 C. R. I, 709, 779; Week's Relig. Dew, 51-55. 


though regarded by many as a good man, personally 
and professionally, met the same opposition as Daniel 
and Carey had when he asked for the taking of the 
oath of allegiance. The Dissenters in their reaction 
against him went so far as to join Carey and follow 
him as the leader of the opposition. Carey became the 
actual governor of the Dissenters, now known as the 
popular party, while Glover held the same office for the 
Churchmen or conservatives. The province was, there- 
fore, split asunder for the time, but toward the end of 
1708 both factions were willing to refer their respective 
claims to a general assembly which was then meeting, 
or at least they made professions to this effect. In the 
lower house of this assembly the Carey party had a 
majority, and the two factions each had its council pre- 
sided over by their leaders— Carey and Glover. The 
lower house, being composed as it was, favored action 
which was highly beneficial to the interests of the Dis- 
senters and consequently passed an act which annulled 
the taking of the oath of allegiance and also recognized 
Carey as the governor. This action by the lower house 
was at once concurred in by the council of the popular 
faction. But Glover and his party, though they had 
previously declared their intention of abiding by the 
decision of the assembly, would not now acknowledge 
such a proceeding as legal, claiming that he alone had 
a commission from the proprietors to act as the chief 
executive. A settlement of the points in dispute was 
now no nearer than before, and great disorder conse- 
quently prevailed. The proprietors, perhaps thinking 
to bring an end to this condition most satisfactorily by 


recognizing the popular faction, at least for the time, 
declared in favor of Carey; and peace was restored 
after two years of confusion and disturbance. 1 

Evidently this plan of recognizing Carey as the chief 
executive was only temporary, as Edward Hyde arrived 
in 1710 as deputy governor, being appointed by the 
governor of South Carolina. But as the said governor 
died before a commission was issued to Hyde, there 
was some dispute for the time as to his assuming 
charge of affairs. However, having letters to the effect 
that he had been duly appointed, though not com- 
missioned, he was accepted as president of the council. 
In 1712 he was appointed and commissioned by the pro- 
prietors as governor of North Carolina. This province 
was now separated from South Carolina and was 
given a distinct provincial government of its own. 2 
The factional strife, when Hyde arrived as deputy 
governor, was not yet over; both parties were still at 
dagger's points with each other. Under him an as- 
sembly was held, early in 1711, in which the Anglicans 
had a clear majority. This was now the time for them 
to act in the way of revenge, and in a most vigorous 
and radical manner they acted. They made it sedition 
to speak against the government in any way whatever 
and not to take the oath of allegiance to the crown. 
They declared all suits and judgments of the period, 
July 24, 1708, to January 22, 1711, null and void. So 
great was their feeling against the Dissenters, who had 
been in power under Carey, that they proposed not only 

i C. R. I, 696-99, 709-10, 763-72, 784-87 ; Week's Relig. Dev., 56-9. 
•2 C. R. I, 731, 737, 775-79, 785, 841. 


to have revenge but also to wipe out every vestige pos- 
sible of the administration of the Dissenters. In addi- 
tion to the sedition act, they arrested Carey and his 
chief followers, disfranchised the Quakers and made 
the Anglican church the establishment, the very thing 
against which the Dissenters had worked and strug- 
gled. 1 Such action on the part of the Churchmen en- 
raged the popular party, as most naturally it would, 
and civil war was almost upon the colony, with Hyde 
and Carey as leaders of the opposing factions ; it was 
prevented by the interference of the Virginia authori- 
ties in support of Hyde. This finally brought an end 
to the so-called Carey rebellion, July, 1711, after sev- 
eral years of confusion and chaos in the government. 2 
Though the Dissenters in this struggle finally lost, 
still by it they obtained a legal recognition in matters 
ecclesiastical. The act which had been passed concern- 
ing sedition and the keeping of the peace declared that 
not only the laws of the established church but also 
those allowing indulgence to Dissenters should be in 
force. 3 Now dissent, which had in a very indefinite 
way been allowed, was made legal, so that from this 
time to 1775 the province, while it had an established 
church, still allowed religious toleration in a perfectly 
legal manner. From this time to the end of the royal 
period there was some religious agitation but it was 
wholly upon constitutional lines. 4 

'C. R. I, 787-94; Week's Relig. Dev., 59-61. 

2C. R. I, 758-63, 769, 774, 778, 780-95, 800-02, 831, 881, 912-22. 
I 3C. R. I, 787-90. 

* Week's Church and State, 9-11. 


From the close of this disturbance to 1729 North 
Carolina was free from such disorder as had occurred 
at several times previously, and especially during the 
periods 1677-1680, 1704-1711. What struggles there 
were during the last eighteen years of the proprietary 
government were constitutional and without violent or 
radical action. The province was now under a sepa- 
rate governor directly appointed by the proprietors, 
and the patentees gave much more attention to its 
affairs than they had given for several years. The col- 
onists also realized that they had gained rather little 
by violence, as was manifested in the Culpepper and 
Carey insurrections, and were now ready to act more 
in accord with the principles of constitutional develop- 
ment, the proprietors being apparently willing to grant 
to them a more liberal government. Both parties— 
the patentees and the colonists— now directed their en- 
ergies to preserve order, to collect the laws, and make 
them known and obeyed. Prior to 1715 these were 
very indefinite, not being collected or codified. 1 They 
also, by an act of the assembly, regulated the qualifica- 
tions of the electors and representatives, as well as the 
method of holding the elections, declaring in favor of 
biennial assemblies. The colonists now had control of 
the making of the laws and were, therefore, no longer 
under rigid regulations in this phase of their life. 
They gave evidence of their substantial control over 
legislation by passing laws, either wholly new ones or 
old ones revised, which did not please the patentees, 
as in their passage the proprietary interests were not 

1 C. R. I, 836 et seq. ; II, passim. 


well considered. 1 By the assemblies from 1716 to 
1729 several other acts were passed, and were allowed 
by the proprietors, though they operated largely to 
the interests of the colonists, rather than to those of the 
proprietors. 2 

Thus far we have sketched, in meagre outline, the 
chief events of the proprietary period, having said 
little of the form of government which the paten- 
tees proposed to establish in their province or of the 
form of governmental machinery which was actually 
given to the colonists. It is now necessary, therefore, 
to take these under further consideration. 

By their charters the patentees were given large pow- 
ers in the administration of their extensive lands and 
in the government of those who should become settlers 
thereon. To them were granted the privilege and duty 
of enacting the laws, as well as enforcing them. They 
could at their discretion convert Carolina into a county- 
palatine, and govern it after the customs of the English 
counties-palatine, especially of the Durham type, 4 and 
it was most probably their intention sooner or later 
to establish a manorial form of government, particularly 
in its territorial system. But to do this required 
conditions different from those to be found in their 
wild and unsettled lands. It was necessary, there- 
fore, to put in operation a more liberal and sim- 
ple system, at least for the time, until the province 

i C. R. II, 213-36; Swarm, 2; MS. Laws. 

2 Swann, passim; MS. Laws. 

3 See Bassett's Const. Beginnings for much fuller treatment, also for a 
somewhat different point of view. 

*C. R. I, 20-33, 103-14; II, 142-43. 


should be more thickly settled. With such a plan in 
mind they issued certain proposals to the planters who 
would become permanent settlers. These were made 
in 1663 and again two years later, offering very liberal 
terms, especially democratic for the seventeenth cen- 
tury. By these certain concessions were made to the 
colonists, which remained practically permanent, at 
least so far as the colonists themselves were concerned, 
though the proprietors evidently meant them only as 
temporary— that is for the first settlers and for a time 
only for them. Not only were their concessions to the 
would-be settlers of the middle portion of their grant 
very liberal, but the instructions also which they sent 
out to the governors of the northern settlement were 
of the same spirit, Why the change from this liberal 
system to that of the "fundamental constitutions" of 
1669-1670? These provided for a governmental ma- 
chinery distinctly feudal and monarchical ; the colonists 
were left with much smaller powers than they had 
under the first terms of settlement. To answer this 
question is by no means easy. 

The first terms were offered in the "declarations and 
proposals," issued during the latter months of 1663. 
They were made for the most part to the people of the 
Barbadoes, who desired to form a colony in Carolina, 
on the Cape Fear River, but they were also offered to 
other English subjects who would become settlers in 
any part of the territory of the patentees. According 
to these terms the colonists were to have the right of 
nominating certain ones of their own number, one of 
whom the proprietors should appoint as governor and 



six more as councillors; and these should administer 
the affairs of the settlement. That these officers might 
not become too arbitrary in their official conduct it was 
provided that they should be nominated and chosen 
every three years. The freeholders or their represen- 
tatives were to have an important part in the legisla- 
tion; they with the governor and councillors should 
enact all the laws necessary for the proper administra- 
tion of the settlement, provided the said acts were in 
accord with the spirit of the laws of England. The 
only other limitation upon the legislative powers of the 
colonists was the necessity of their acts being approved 
by the proprietors ; when once thus approved, they were 
to remain in force until repealed by the same body 
which had passed them. The colonists also were to 
have complete religious toleration and freedom, cer- 
tainly a radically liberal concession for those times. 1 

No permanent settlement being made under these 
terms, the proprietors regarded them as void. But 
early in 1665 they signed another paper with the Bar- 
badians, known as the "concessions and agreements ' ' ; 
and these were open to the Barbadians wherever they 
might reside. They were again given very liberal priv- 
ileges of establishing a plantation on the Cape Fear 
Eiver, but the same privileges were also offered to any 
other settlement in Carolina. By these terms the pat- 
entees were to choose one of the colonists as the gov- 
ernor—a provision not quite so liberal as that of 1663 
—and he in case of their failure to do so must select 
either six or twelve councillors, a register and a sur- 

iC. R. I, 43-46. 


veyor-general, all being colonists. These officers, after 
taking the oath of allegiance to the crown and of fidel- 
ity to the proprietors, were to administer the affairs 
of the colonists, though in general accord with the in- 
structions sent out by the patentees; and they with 
twelve deputies chosen by the freemen and of the free- 
men constituted the legislative assembly, which made 
the laws for the settlement. And to be a freeman was 
very easy, the only requisite being the taking of the 
same oaths as the officers were required to take. Com- 
plete freedom and toleration in religion were allowed, 
conditioned only by the provision that no one in the 
enjoyment of these could disturb the peace of the set- 
tlement. The assembly was to appoint an Anglican 
minister, the Dissenters as churches were to choose their 
own clergymen. 1 

Though the terms of 1665 were not as liberal as those 
of two years earlier, still they were quite easy. It has 
by some been doubted that the proprietors seriously 
intended to carry out such liberal provisions, either 
those of 1663 or 1665, but this doubt is not well founded. 
That they fully meant to do so for a time is shown in 
the commission which they issued in 1665 to Sir John 
Yeamans as governor of the Barbadian settlement, and 
also in the commission and instructions which they sent 
out two years later to Samuel Stephens, governor of 
Albemarle. 2 It is true that the form and spirit of 
these terms were more liberal than was the custom of 
the times and very much more so than those provided 

i C. R. I, 79-92. 

2 C. R. I, 97-98, 162-75. 


for in the "fundamental constitutions." 1 These con- 
stitutions were the first attempt of the proprietors to 
establish a manorial system, as provided for in the 
charters ; and evidently this had been their ideal, to be 
realized sometime in the future. These were first 
drawn up in 1669-1670, but no special effort was made 
to put them into actual operation, at least for the time, 
in the Albemarle settlement. Seeing that this province 
was by no means sufficiently settled for such an elabor- 
ate machinery of government, the patentees continued to 
allow many of their former concessions. The fact that 
five different sets of these constitutions were drawn up, 
the last one being in 1698, and that the later ones were 
decided modifications of the first, would indicate that 
the proprietors were experimenting as to what was in 
practice best for North Carolina under its peculiar con- 
ditions. 2 

It seems that the first terms of settlement were lead- 
ing to a spirit too greatly democratic and that the pat- 
entees, therefore, felt called on to check it, 3 and this 
was to be done by the establishment of a manorial sys- 
tem, according to the constitutions of the great political 
philosopher John Locke. As provided for in these 
constitutions, Carolina was to be divided into counties, 
and these into seigniories, baronies, precincts and col- 
onies, with both lords and common freemen. The 
lords were to possess two-fifths of the land ; the colon- 
ists the remaining portion, upon grants from the lords ; 

iC. R. I, 187-205. 

2 C. R. IT, 852-58; Hawks II, 184. 

3C. R. I, 188; II, 852. 


and the lords were to establish the old English man- 
orial courts. Further, according to these constitu- 
tions, the proprietors were to organize an elaborate 
system of administrative courts for regulating and con- 
trolling the provincial affairs in general, not in detail. 
Within the province there should be a legislative as- 
sembly, elected biennially, which should make all the 
laws for the colonists, subject to the confirmation of the 
proprietors. In connection with this system was also 
to be erected a church establishment, to be supported by 
all of the colonists. But Dissenters might become set- 
tlers upon the condition of their paying high respect to 
the whole government— the state and the church alike. 
This plan, while having many of the old feudal ideas in 
it, had also something of the new monarchical spirit. 
But it was never seriously put into operation in North 
Carolina; at most it was only a theoretical standard for 
the proprietors, the colonists being governed by their 
instructions, which at times had very little of the 
manorial ideas in them. 1 

Whether these constitutions were to be fully carried 
out or not, it is clear that the proprietors had now estab- 
lished, in theory at least, a very different system from 
the one outlined in their early terms of settlement and 
first instructions to the governors. The reason of the 
change though not fully apparent, even after much con- 
sideration, is for the most part clear. Their first con- 
cessions were made chiefly to the Barbadians, who were 
Englishmen and loyal to the English crown, having fled 
from home during the stormy periods of the civil war 

i C. R. I, 187-205; II, 852-58; Hawks II, 184. 


and the commonwealth. The proprietors were for the 
most part loyal to the king and were consequently anx- 
ious to have such colonists, hence the liberal terms 
which they offered. A few of the Barbadians came and 
settled, though only for a short time, disbanding and 
leaving the province in 1667. 1 The reason why the 
same terms were granted to the first Albemarle settlers 
as to the Barbadians is not so apparent ; possibly it was 
to induce people to become colonists in that section. 2 
Perhaps these liberal privileges were changed to those 
of the ' ' fundamental constitutions ' ' because the Barba- 
dians, to whom they were for the most part granted, had 
left the province, and also perhaps because of the fear 
of the democratic spirit, which was then manifesting 
itself among the colonists. 

As has already been suggested, the government which 
the proprietors proposed for North Carolina was very 
different in many respects from that which they were 
actually able to put into operation. What the terri- 
torial, fiscal, judicial, and military systems were will 
be stated elsewhere. Here only the more formal as- 
pects—the governor, the council, and the lower house 
of the legislature— will be discussed, and these only for 
the purpose of tracing the general development in these 
departments of government, with the view of making 
the transition from the proprietary to the royal prov- 
ince more clear. 

The patentees did not organize as a body prior to 
1669. Then they did something toward organization, 

i C. R. I, 39-42, 46-47, 148-51, 157-59, 177-208. 
2 N. J. Archives, First series, I, 28 et seq. 


forming the palatine's court— the court of the eldest 
proprietor— but this was the only one ever erected, out 
of several provided for in the "fundamental constitu- 
tions. " Before this time Albemarle had been under 
a governor appointed in a rather loose kind of a man- 
ner, his powers and duties not being very specifically 
stated. But after the formation of the palatine's court 
he was much more exactly instructed and the provincial 
affairs were to be looked after according to a more defi- 
nite plan. The governor was now to have and to exer- 
cise in the province the general powers of the palatine. 
However, he was not the only executive of the proprie- 
tors in the colony, as each patentee was supposed to 
have a deputy residing therein, and the governor must 
act with the concurrence of at least three of these. 1 By 
such a plan the chief executive in the province did not 
have much independent power. But still he was ex 
officio commander-in-chief of the army and militia, 
whenever there were any, vice admiral after 1697, when 
the province was placed under the direction of the ad- 
miralty court of England. He called and presided over 
the council, concurred in the acts of the general assem- 
bly, for the elections to which he issued writs, adminis- 
tered the oaths of fidelity and allegiance to the proprie- 
tors and the crown, and for the first thirty-seven years 
sat as president of the general court.' 2 His appoint- 
ment, commission and instructions issued directly from 
the proprietors until 1691, but for the next twenty-one 
years the chief officer of the province was only a deputy 

1 C. E. I, 179-83, 187-206. 
*C. R. I, 181, 473. 


governor, appointed and instructed by the governor of 
Carolina, residing in Charleston. 1 

In his general administrative duties the governor 
was aided much by the council. This body was made 
up for the first seven years of men appointed by the 
governor, but from 1670 to 1691 it was composed of ten 
members, five elected by the lower house as represent- 
ing the colonists, and five deputies of the proprietors, 
while during the latter half of the proprietary period 
it was composed entirely of these deputies. 2 Through- 
out the whole period it had few powers apart from 
the governor. However, in conjunction with him it 
performed very considerable administrative work. 
The chief executive with its concurrence suspended for 
the time any officer, if deemed necessary, issued mili- 
tary commissions, reprieved criminals subject to appeal 
to the proprietors, made grants of land, and supplied 
all the offices established by the general assembly. 3 
From 1670 to 1691 the governor and five deputies of 
the proprietors constituted the deputy palatine's court, 
and as such exercised powers over the ordinary council, 
this being composed largely of the proprietary depu- 
ties. So powerful did this court become that the 
regular council was abolished in 1691, and from this 
time to the end of the period the deputies with the 
governor exercised the chief administrative functions. 4 

There was a lower house of the legislature, represent- 
ing the colonists, during practically the whole period 

i C. R. I, 373-82, 380-00, 554-57, 604-06, 707-731, 733. 

2 C. R. II, 515 et seq. 

3C. R. I, 70-02. 

* C. E. I, 181-82, 103, 381, 384. 


under the proprietors. This met with the council as 
one house until 1691, taking formal vote as one body ; 
in actual practice, however, the governor and three 
deputies of the proprietors constituted a separate 
house. After this time the assembly met in two sepa- 
rate houses, and conducted all of the business upon the 
bicameral plan. This assembly, whether of one house 
or of two, enacted the laws, provided they were in ac- 
cord with the laws of England and the desire of the 
proprietors, levied the taxes, established courts and 
provided for defence. 1 

It is evident from what has been stated in the fore- 
going pages that the proprietors were not very suc- 
cessful in their attempts at colonial administration in 
North Carolina. While the colonists at no time openly 
rebelled against the patentees, still quite frequently, as 
we have seen, they rebelled against their officers, espe- 
cially their governors. During a part of the period this 
opposition took the shape of violence, but during the 
latter part it was only of the nature of constitutional 
complaint and struggle. The crown assumed the con- 
trol of the province not because the colonists revolted 
against the patentees, but mainly because the crown 
had for some time seen that the proprietary provinces 
were fast drifting away from its regulation, and that 
they constituted an obstruction to a comprehensive 
colonial policy and system ; and for this reason it was 
anxious to have the chance of regaining its control over 
them. The proprietors also were very willing to sur- 
render all of their powers and burdens of government 

»C. R. I, 79-101, 167, 381, 472, 629, 697, 780, 784-94. 


and to sell most of their territory, as the South Caro- 
lina colonists had successfully revolted against them in 
1719. During 1728 negotiations for such a transfer 
were entered upon and an agreement was reached, par- 
liament confirming it during the next year. By this 
transfer all of the territory excepting one-eighth part 
became the lands of the crown, while all of the govern- 
mental powers reverted to the crown; North Carolina 
now became a royal province. 1 It was still a poor and 
small settlement, having a population of about 30,000 
whites and 6,000 negroes, 2 and these lived within fifty 
miles of the sea-coast. With the transfer from pro- 
prietary to royal administration there was little change 
in the governmental machinery in its outward form. 
The governor, the council, and the lower house of the 
legislature continued, as did the administrative systems 
of land, finance, justice and defence. The chief differ- 
ence was as to the immediate source of power; the 
crown now took the place of the proprietors. 

This introduction having been made, we are ready to 
begin the study of the institutions under the crown. 

iC. R. I, 721-23; III, 1, 12, 25-30, 37-47. 
2 C. R. Ill, 433. 


The Governor Under the Crown. 

The government of a royal province was in form 
much like that of the mother country. In all the prov- 
inces the crown was the chief executive and the 
ultimate source of governmental powers. It, however, 
delegated its authority in part to agents who resided 
among the colonists. Its executive power was be- 
stowed upon an officer known as the governor. Each 
colony had such an officer, and his powers and duties 
were much the same in all of them. The governor was 
appointed by the crown, with an indefinite tenure of 
office, and was, therefore, responsible to the crown for 
all of his acts, and not to the people whose affairs he 
was to administer. Authority was conveyed to him 
through a commission, which was always a public 
document. At the appointment of this official, and 
from time to time thereafter, instructions were also 
issued by the crown for his guidance. They contained 
specific, though private, directions for him and the 
council, and the governor at times sent copies of cer- 
tain' clauses of these to the lower house. He was not 
legally bound to do this, but it was done occasionally 
in order to conciliate the representatives of the people. 

These commissions and instructions served the col- 
onists as charters, and the governor could not act, at 



least to any great extent, otherwise than according to 
them. He had some discretionary powers, but these 
were limited and temporary; for his acts of discretion 
he might be called into account by the crown officers 
in England. 

A good many powers, with their corresponding 
duties, were bestowed upon the governor. By the 
advice and consent of the council, he was empowered 
to grant lands, according to the terms issued by the 
crown, or according to the terms of the acts of the 
legislature which the crown had approved; and these 
grants, when sealed with the seal of the province and 
recorded in the land office, were legal as against all 
persons, even against the king himself. The governor 
was ordered to exercise a careful oversight over the set- 
tlement of all lands thus granted. He could not allow 
larger grants than could be well settled and cultivated. 
He was forbidden to issue any grants whatever with- 
out a clause reserving the right to vacate them unless 
the quit-rents were paid and cultivation properly car- 
ried on. Over lands which escheated to the crown, 
or were forfeited, he was not given the power of final 
disposal until he had transmitted an account of them 
to the authorities in England and had received specific 
instructions from them. 1 

The governor, with the advice and consent of the 
council, appointed to all vacancies in the land office, 
and, in co-operation with the two houses of the legisla- 
ture, enacted all the laws in regard to registration, 
alienation, transfer, title by occupation, validity of pat- 

iC. R. Ill, 90-118, 496-98; V, 1103-44; VII, 137-42. 


ents, resurvey, escheat, rent-rolls, and the number of 
acres to be granted to any one person. 1 Quit-rents and 
the conditions of escheat and forfeiture neither he nor 
the legislature could determine, as these were reserved 
as the crown's exclusive right. But he and the coun- 
cil decided whether lands had been settled according 
to the terms of the grants and whether they escheated 
or were forfeited. Much of the work of the executive 
department was of this nature, hearing petitions for 
regrants of lands escheated or forfeited. 2 It was also 
the duty of the governor to establish the court of ex- 
chequer and the court of claims, for the trial of cases 
arising from lands or their revenue. 

In addition to these, the governor had many general 
administrative powers and duties. He was the head 
of the whole administrative machinery of the province, 
and in this capacity watched all the parts of the sys- 
tem, and, so far as possible, directed its movements. 
His first duty, after arriving in the province, was to 
publish his commission and take all the oaths required 
by law and subscribe the test. He must take the oaths 
of allegiance and supremacy to the king, of abjuration 
against the pretender, of office as governor of North 
Carolina, of office as governor of any royal province, 
and subscribe a declaration against the doctrine of 
transubstantiation. These oaths show that he was to 
serve two different parties, the crown and the people 
of the province. But as the crown, not the colonists, 
imposed the oaths upon him, he was legally bound to 

1 Law Revisals, passim. 

2 C. R. III-IX, passim. 


serve the crown's interests, even at the expense of the 
people. ! 

He was required to administer these oaths and the 
test to all the members of the provincial council, and 
was given full power to suspend any councillor for suf- 
ficient cause. If the number of the council was less 
than seven, he was authorized to appoint to vacancies 
for the time, until the board of trade expressed its 
opinion; he could not fill vacancies if the membership 
was as large as seven. He was instructed to keep the 
board of trade supplied with a list of twelve persons 
fit for appointment as councillors. He could under 
no conditions increase the number of the council, nor 
could he suspend any councillor without a good and 
sufficient reason, and this must be done with the con- 
sent of a majority of this body. When he suspended 
any councillor he must send a full account of it to the 
board of trade and crown, which alone could render 
the final judgment in the matter. In case it became 
necessary for him to suspend a councillor, for reasons 
which he could not communicate to the council, he was 
given the power to do so, but he must at once transmit 
a full account of his action to the authorities at home. 2 

The governor was given the power and duty of keep- 
ing the seal of the province, of administering the oath 
in reference to his majesty's person to whomsoever he 
saw fit, of appointing certain officers and requiring them 
to take the oaths and test, of issuing out all moneys 
raised by acts of the assembly and expending the same 

> C. R. Ill, 60-73. 

«C. R. Ill, 90-118, 490-98; V, 1103-44. 


for the support of the government, in accordance with 
the laws of the province, of appointing all fairs, marts, 
markets, ports and harbors, and of seeing that all the 
officers and ministers of the province were obedient 
to the chief executive. 1 Further, he was to investi- 
gate complaints and charges against former governors, 
and to look into the official conduct of all the officers, 
whenever it became necessary. He was given a care- 
ful oversight of the execution of the acts of trade and, 
in the absence of the surveyor-general of customs, he 
was directed to fill all vacancies, though temporarily, 
in his office. 2 

He was instructed to grant full liberty of conscience 
to all, excepting Papists, upon the condition that those 
enjoying the same gave no offence to good government ; 
also to see that God was devoutly worshipped in the 
whole province, that the book of common prayer was 
read on every Sabbath and holiday, that the sacrament 
was administered according to the rites of the church 
of England, and that churches were kept up, ministers 
and parish work maintained. Nor could he permit any 
minister to take a benefice unless he had a certificate 
from the bishop of London. He was also ordered to 
allow the bishop of London much ecclesiastical con- 
trol in many matters, though not in the collating to bene- 
fices, granting licenses of marriage and probating wills, 
these being reserved as the governor's exclusive right. 
Moreover, it was his duty to aid the bishop of London 
in all possible ways ; to pass laws through the general 

iC. R. Ill, 66-73. 

2C. R. Ill, 103-09, 496-98; V, 1103-44; VII, 137-42. 


assembly against blasphemy, profanity, adultery, for- 
nication, incest, profaning the Lord's day, swearing 
and drunkenness, and to recommend that the assembly 
erect and support public schools ; and to look after the 
welfare of the Indians located within the i3rovince. 1 
It was likewise his duty to discourage and restrain any 
attempts which might be made to establish manufac- 
tures or trades in the province, which would in any 
way be prejudicial to the kingdom of England— that 
is competing industries. 2 And lastly he was enjoined 
to secure the passage of certain acts which would add 
to the efficiency of the administrative system, and sev- 
eral were passed by the legislature for this purpose, 
but frequently these were introduced and passed to 
please the colonists rather than to increase the effi- 
ciency of the royal government. 3 

The governor was given these general powers, as well 
as the specific ones, for no definite time ; he always held 
them at the pleasure of the crown. 4 In executing 
them he was under many limitations. Burrington and 
Johnston were directed to render full and accurate ac- 
counts of their acts of general administration to the 
secretary of state and the board of trade. Dobbs and 
his successors were instructed to correspond with the 
secretary of state only when affairs demanded very 
immediate attention from the crown, otherwise with the 
board of trade ; 5 this meant that the board of trade was 

i C. R. Ill, 109-11. 
2 C. R. VI, 559. 

Law Revisals, passim. 
* C. R. Ill, 66-73. 
s C. R. V, 1103-44. 


to have the larger part of the administration of colonial 
affairs and that the governor was to become their 
agent to a large extent. The commissions which he 
issued to the judges, justices of the peace and other 
officers, must have a clause stating that they were held 
during the pleasure of the crown. He was forbidden 
to fill any patent office, to which the crown had the 
right of appointment by warrant, except upon a vacancy 
or the suspension of any such officer by himself, and 
that for the time only. This provision placed a great 
limitation upon the governor's power of appointing to 
office, as the chief officials of the province were patent 
officers: the chief justice, secretary, attorney-general, 
provost-marshal, and the councillors. 1 

The governor had also all the powers that belonged 
to a captain-general or commander-in-chief: to levy, 
arm, muster, and command all persons residing in 
the province, to march or embark them for the purpose 
of resisting an enemy whenever occasion demanded it, 
and to transport the North Carolina militia and soldiers 
to any other American colony, if needed for its defence. 
He was given the power to execute martial law during 
the time of invasion, or at any other time when by the 
laws of England it might be executed; by the advice 
and consent of the council he was to build and supply 
forts, to appoint and commission captains, lieutenants, 
masters of ships, commanders and all the officers of 
martial law, according to 13 Charles II. He was di- 
rected to require the sheriffs to use all lawful means 
to keep the peace and to put down insurrections or 

1 C. R. Ill, 80, 107-08, 498. 


riots, and lie could lead the militia against those taking 
part in such actions. 1 The governor was also vice- 
admiral, and was given all the powers and duties of 
such an officer. 2 

In all matters of defence the governor 's powers were 
less limited than in any other of his functions. This 
was very natural, as his province was subject to attacks 
by sea, by land from without, and by the Indians 
located within. Under these conditions it was neces- 
sary that the province have the best possible system of 
defence, and in order to accomplish this the crown 
delegated to the governor full military and naval pow- 
ers. In civil affairs matters were not so pressing that 
they could not be considered by the board of trade and 
crown before a general decision was reached. In de- 
fence the governor and the council must have large 
powers and much discretion. 

The governor was instructed to call a general as- 
semblv whenever occasion demanded it, and he and 
the council were to be the judges of the necessity. He 
was also instructed to make laws and ordinances for 
the welfare of the colonists and the benefit of the crown, 
provided that they were not repugnant to the laws of 
England. This always gave the final decision to the 
crown officers in England, and consequently made the 
governor only an agent in this particular. All the 
laws and ordinances passed by the assembly and as- 
sented to by himself must be sent to the crown within 
three months after their passing, for approval or dis- 

iC. R. Ill, 60-73; VIII, 192-93. 
2C. R. Ill, 212. 


approval. The governor had a negative voice in the 
passing of laws and ordinances by the assembly, and 
none could be passed without his assent. He could 
also prorogue or dissolve the assembly to prevent the 
passing of certain bills, whenever he and the council 
deemed it expedient. 1 But he could not determine the 
manner of electing representatives, the number of mem- 
bers and how many should constitute a quorum, these 
being defined in his instructions. It was his duty, 
however, to see that the instructions on these points 
were carried out. He was forbidden to assent to any 
act of the legislature whereby its duration might be 
limited or ascertained, its number increased or dimin- 
ished, the qualifications of the electors or of the repre- 
sentatives fixed or altered, inconsistently with the 
crown's rights. Neither could he assent to any act for 
a gift from the assembly to himself, whereby it might 
place him under its obligations. 2 

The governor alone could prorogue or dissolve the 
assembly, though as a rule he consulted the council as 
to when he should do this. In his power of assenting 
to or rejecting bills he was limited by the require- 
ment that he must send to the crown and board of 
trade his reasons for so doing. Quite a number of the 
acts assented to by him were disallowed by the crown. 
This was done in the case of acts passed in 1739, 1740, 
1754, 1756, 1765, 1768 and 1770. 3 He was under greater 
restrictions and had less discretion in his law-making 

iC. R. Ill, 66-73. 

*C. R. V, 1103-44; VII, 137-42; VIII, 512-16. 

3 Law Revisals, passim. 


powers than in any other of his functions. His land 
grants and measures of defence, of general adminis- 
tration and justice, were not sent to the home govern- 
ment; he merely made reports concerning them. But 
the acts of the legislature, to which he had given his 
assent, were themselves examined by the crown officers 
in England. 

The governor also had judicial powers and duties. 
He was instructed to erect and constitute such courts 
of law and equity as he and the council deemed neces- 
sary for hearing and determining all cases, civil and 
criminal, to have the oaths and test administered to all 
persons connected with such courts, to appoint the 
judges, excepting the chief justice whom the crown 
appointed, commissioners of oyer and terminer, and 
justices of the peace; also to pardon fines and for- 
feitures, when necessary, except in the case of treason 
and wilful murder, in which he could only grant a 
reprieve until the royal pleasure was known. 1 

In order to avoid long imprisonment, he was ordered 
to appoint two courts of oyer and terminer to be held 
yearly ; also to see that all prisoners in case of treason 
or felony had liberty to petition in open court for their 
trials, to secure the passage of an act by which the 
value of a man's estate requisite to entitle him to the 
privilege of jury service should be determined, and to 
see that no man's life, member, freehold or goods, was 
taken or harmed otherwise than by the established laws. 
He was directed to allow appeals from the courts of 
justice to himself in the council, the court of chancery, 

C. R. Ill, 66-73. 


in civil causes where the value appealed for should 
exceed oue hundred pounds sterling. He was also to 
allow appeals to the king in council in all cases of fines 
for misdemeanors in which the amount exceeded one 
hundred pounds sterling. 1 

There were, however, many limitations upon his judi- 
cial powers. He could not displace any judge or justice 
without a sufficient reason. The board of trade and 
crown alone could finally decide what constituted such 
a reason. He was not allowed to express any limita- 
tion of time in the commissions which he issued to 
judges or justices ; they must always be for pleasure. 
Neither he nor his deputy could execute any of the 
offices of a judge or a justice. Nor could he abolish 
any court already erected without special leave from 
the crown, or allow any court of judicature to adjourn 
excepting upon good reasons. He was instructed to 
see that all persons committed to prison, except for 
treason and felony, had the immediate privilege of 
habeas corpus, and that no person set at large by an 
habeas corpus was recommitted for the same offence 
except by the court in which he was bound to appear. 2 
And it was not within the power of the governor to as- 
sent to laws which appointed judges for good behavior, 
or to grant commissions to those thus appointed by 
acts of the legislature. 3 

Such were the constitutional powers and duties of 
the governor. In executing and discharging these he 

iC. R. Ill, 90-118. 

2 C. R. Ill, 90-118. 

3 C. R. VII, 137-42. 


had to look to the interest and welfare of two different 
parties— the crown and the colonists. He received his 
powers from the crown and was legally and directly 
responsible to it. He was intrusted with the adminis- 
tration of the affairs of the colonists, and was, there- 
fore, indirectly responsible to them. By virtue of the 
fact that they bore the burdens of the government, paid 
the taxes, constituted the militia of the province and 
supplied its necessities, they exercised great influence 
over him. When he insisted upon acting to the full 
extent of his constitutional powers and exalted the 
royal rights and prerogatives, they stubbornly resisted 
him. When he yielded to any great extent to their as- 
sertion of rights and privileges independent of the 
crown, the home government censured him. The posi- 
tion of the governor was, therefore, not a pleasant one, 
especially when the colonists had been accustomed to 
act without much restraint, as was the case during the 
period of the proprietary government. 

George Burrington, Esquire, was the first royal gov- 
ernor; it was his peculiar duty to show the colonists 
what a royal government in reality was. He was ap- 
pointed and received his commission and instructions 
in 1730, 1 but did not begin to discharge his duties until 
February 25, 1731. 2 Sir Richard Everard, who was 
the last governor under the proprietors, was retained 
by the crown as acting chief executive until Burrington 
arrived. 3 Burrington had been one of the proprietary 

i C. K. Ill, 65, 66, 74, 86, 87, 118-19. 

a C. R. Ill, 211. 

3C. R. II, 566; III, 2-74, passim. 


governors, and as such had taken the oaths January 15, 
1724. l As a governor under the proprietors he be- 
came much disliked, at least by many of the political 
leaders of the province. Chief Justice Gale, represent- 
ing the opposition, went to England and made many 
serious charges against him. These charges, though 
supported by seven out of the ten councillors, were 
evidently much exaggerated and even false in several 
points, but they were sufficient to cause his removal, in 
July, 1725. 2 He and his opponents indulged in very 
severe language toward each other, rogue and villain 
being very common epithets, and after his displacement 
as a governor under the patentees many bills of indict- 
ment were brought against him for misconduct both 
as a citizen and as the chief executive. As he left the 
province soon after his removal, he never appeared to 
answer them. They were continued for several succes- 
sive courts, but finally disappeared with an entry of 
noli prosequi. Though he had been very unpopular 
with the political leaders under the patentees, his ap- 
pointment as the first royal governor was hailed with 
pleasure 3 by many of the colonists, who appear to have 
taken little part in preferring charges against him dur- 
ing his first administration. As proof of this the lower 
house of the first assembly which met under Everard 
sent an address to the proprietors, in which it declared 
that most of the charges of Gale and his friends were 
false and malicious, and that the province had pros- 

i C. R. II, 515. 

2 C. R. II, 559-62, 566. 

»C. R. II, 546, 647, 817; III, 134-35, 137-38. 


pered and grown mucli under Burrington's care 
and industry. l 

Burrington was an Englishman, of Devonshire. 2 
The time of his birth is not known exactly, but from 
statements of his one would judge that he was born 
about 1685. He was, therefore, about forty-six years 
of age when he became the royal governor of North 
Carolina. He was a man of some education and of 
some good qualities. He, however, exalted the royal 
rights, ignored most of the political claims of the col- 
onists, was violent in temper and speech, enjoyed a 
quarrel with his fellow officers, was a perfect master 
of abusive language, and was obstinate to a great de- 
gree, not being able to tolerate any difference of opin- 
ion. At the same time he was active and self-sacrificing 
in his attempts to promote the material interests of the 
province. As to his life before he became governor 
under the proprietors almost nothing is known. How 
he secured his appointment as royal governor, after he 
had been removed by the patentees because of many 
complaints of misconduct, is not known, but it seems 
that he had considerable influence with the Duke 
of Newcastle, secretary of state for the southern 
department. 3 

His welcome as the first royal governor did not last 
long. He soon became involved in conflicts and quar- 
rels with the chief justice, attorney-general, judge of 
admiralty, secretary, council and lower house. Many 

i C. R. II, 577-78. 

2 C. R. II, 480-81. 

3 C. R. Ill, passim. 


of these officers were selfish, obstinate and uncompro- 
mising; they cared little for the royal administration 
and demanded of him rights and privileges which he 
could not legally grant. It soon became their custom 
to hinder him in practically all of his attempts to ad- 
minister the affairs of the province. His administra- 
tion was, therefore, one of great confusion and disorder. 
He and his opponents indulged in much personal abuse, 
and even went to the extent at times of making threats 
against each others ' lives. 1 

His first legislature, that of 1731, during the first few 
days of the session, praised his ability, care and in- 
dustry. But in a few weeks he was denouncing its 
members and calling them rascals and thieves. He 
had attempted to induce them to pass acts according to 
his instructions from the crown, but they insisted upon 
acting according to the laws passed by the legislature 
under the proprietors and during the period of 1729- 
1731, which acts the crown had not approved. 2 After 
several prorogations, he dissolved the assembly, without 
coming to an agreement and without passing any laws. 
He was then determined not to call another assembly 
for a considerable period, hoping that the members 
would change their position and yield to his requests. 
His second legislature did not meet until 1733. But 
there was no sign of a change on the part of the colon- 
ists or their representatives. The assembly at once de- 
clared that Burrington was oppressing the colonists, 
ignoring justice, using force, and governing in the most 

1 C. R. Ill, passim. 

2 C. R. Ill, 331-39. 


arbitrary manner. Because of this declaration it was 
dissolved. He called his third and last legislature in 
1734, but was displaced by Johnston before he had time 
to become involved in a quarrel with it. 1 

His relations with the councillors and other officers 
were even less agreeable than those with the lower 
house. Within three months after his arrival he was 
in a bitter conflict with three councillors— Smith, Ashe 
and Edmund Porter, and also with the secretary and 
attorney-general. He was obstinate and intolerant 
toward them, and they showed about the same disposi- 
tion toward him. Neither side would make advances 
toward a compromise, and the conflict went on. The 
governor was left almost alone and his opponents used 
every opportunity to hinder his administration. He 
attempted to settle and govern the province according 
to his commission and instructions, but most of the 
other officers insisted upon constitutional rights inde- 
pendent of his instructions. When he began his ad- 
ministration there was really little government. The 
general court had been set aside and some of the dis- 
trict courts discontinued, and the admiralty court had 
been doing all kinds of business. He made several at- 
tempts to restore the province to a good government. 3 
By 1733 he seems to have accomplished something, at 
least, in bringing the province to a condition of peace, 
quiet and prosperity. 4 In the meantime Porter, Ashe 

iC. R. Ill, 257-325, 536-G11, G34-43. 
2 C. R. Ill, 139-41. 
*C. R. Ill, 142-56. 
* C. R. Ill, 429-37. 


and Secretary Rice were sending reports to the board 
of trade against his administration. They accused him 
of usurping powers which did not belong to him. He 
had suspended Porter from the council, and his instruc- 
tions gave him, as he thought, power to do this. He 
had created new precincts. They denied that he had 
the power to do either. He had granted lands, as he 
thought, according to the terms of his instructions. 
They declared that he had no power to grant lands at 
such high terms. * These gentlemen with the attorney- 
general also accused him of using arbitrary powers in 
regard to the council, courts of justice, land and other 
matters. 2 

A great deal of bad feeling was shown by Burring- 
ton and his opponents. Who was the more to blame in 
these conflicts it is difficult to say. Both parties went 
to great extremes in their acts, and especially in their 
denunciation of each other. The board of trade, in 
writing to Burrington, in 1732, stated that he had per- 
haps nominated new councillors when there were as 
many as seven, the number above which he could not 
nominate, but that they were not able to come to an 
absolutely certain conviction in the matter. They did 
state that his conduct with the lower house had been 
irregular and that his language to it had been intimidat- 
ing. On the other hand the board of trade recognized 
that both the lower house and the other officers had 
claimed more rights than the governor could grant 
them. 3 

i C. E. Ill, 325-31, 439-75. 
*C. R. Ill, 356-82. 
3 C. R. Ill, 351-55. 


His quarrels with his fellow officers show the weakest 
side of Burrington, and he was certainly not entirely 
responsible for them. In spite of these, he did much 
for the welfare of the province. His own statements, 
as well as those from his enemies, show that he made 
a close study of the material conditions of the province, 
that he understood the character and needs of the col- 
onists to a considerable extent, and that he accomplished 
much for their welfare. 1 He looked carefully after 
the settlement of the lands and the making of internal 
improvements. He laid out roads, built bridges, 
sounded and explored several of the rivers. And for 
this, he states, he received only a vote of thanks from 
the assembly. 2 That the people appreciated his energy 
exercised for their welfare and that the province grew 
and prospered under him there are many proofs. 3 In 
his opening speeches to the assembly he asked it to act 
for the welfare of the whole province, to keep the bills 
of credit at par, to make the judicial system as efficient 
and convenient as possible, to appoint an agent who 
should reside in London and act for the province, to 
settle his salary, to provide an effectual way for direct 
trade with Europe and the West Indies, to support 
the church and clergy, and to pass acts requiring the 
proper registration of lands. 4 These requests show 
that he was working for the welfare of the colony as 
well as for that of the crown, and that he understood the 

i C. R. Ill, 338 et seq. 

2 C. R. Ill, 29, 135, 287, 429-37, 577, 617. 

a C. R. Ill, 194, 262; IV, 18-22. 

* C. R. Ill, 257-58, 540-42, 636. 


best needs of the colonists. In his speeches to the 
legislatures of 1733 and 1734 he complained a good 
deal about the fact that the former assemblies had ac- 
complished nothing, and about their constitutional 
claims which he could not grant. While his language 
was not very diplomatic or politic, still for the most 
part it was not unkind. 

There were practically no complaints of his failure 
to act, but many of his acting in an arbitrary way. He 
sent long and frequent letters and reports to the au- 
thorities at home, as he was instructed to do. He 
seems to have appointed to all the offices within his 
power and to have looked carefully after the general 
administration. While no laws were passed under him, 
still this was not entirely his fault, as he held three 
assemblies. He made no records of lands granted by 
by him. That he issued warrants and patents for lands 
is evident from what his opponents said about his 
administration. * He did act in a very independent and 
arbitrary way at times, but mainly according to his 
interpretation of his powers and duties. The members 
of the assembly and some of the councillors relied 
upon the charters of 1663 and 1665 for their constitu- 
tional rights, and resisted most of his attempts to gov- 
ern according to royal prerogative and rights. They 
had long been accustomed to doing much as they 
pleased in governmental affairs, and, therefore, de- 
manded many rights and privileges for themselves 
which he could not grant, 2 His great intolerance of 

i Swann; C. R. Ill, 257-325, 457-75, 540-61, 634-43. 
2 C. R. Ill, 262, 265, 267, 270-72. 


differences of opinion and violent conduct made for 
himself many strong enemies: Nathaniel Rice, John 
B. Ashe, Edmund Porter, John Montgomery, and other 
leaders in the colony, became and remained his oppo- 
nents, and these were men whose influence he needed 
very much. 1 But even had he been very diplomatic, if 
at the same time he had insisted upon the royal rights, 
conflicts on fundamental and constitutional questions 
would have come. By a different personal conduct he 
might have avoided the personal struggles and quar- 
rels, but it was almost inevitable that he and the legis- 
lature should become involved in grave conflicts. Their 
points of view on governmental questions were very 
different and would necessarily lead to disputes. 

Burrington was promised out of the quit-rents a sal- 
ary of seven hundred pounds yearly. The assembly 
did not and would not accept a plan for collecting these, 
and consequently he received very little toward his 
salary or expenses. He asked the crown for his ex- 
penses in making surveys and improvements, but his 
request was refused. 2 

Burrington 's successor, Gabriel Johnston, Esquire, 
was appointed and commissioned in 1733, but did not 
assume control of provincial affairs until November, 
1734. He remained in office until his death, July 17, 
1752. He was by birth and education a Scotchman. 
His education, especially in the ancient languages, was 
good ; he served for a time as professor of oriental lan- 

i C. R. Ill, 377, 379, 385, 616, 617. 

2C. R. Ill, 625, 626; preface, pp. x, xi. 

3C. R. Ill, 438-39, 496-500, 642-43; IV, 1314. 


guages in the University of St. Andrews. It is by 
some authorities stated that he wrote several articles 
on political and governmental questions, and that it 
was due to these that he was appointed governor of 
North Carolina, * whether this is true or not can not be 

Most of the North Carolina historians have praised 
his activity and character, but the records which he left 
seem to indicate that he has been praised too highly. 
He governed the province through a long period, and 
under him it grew much in population and prosperity. 
It is estimated that there were about 50,000 whites and 
negroes in 1735 and about 90,000 in 1752. 2 An inves- 
tigation into the causes of this increase in population 
reveals the fact that Johnston had practically nothing 
to do with it. He was evidently a man of many good 
qualities; he was not profane as was Burrington, 
neither was he drunken or violent in temper. He cer- 
tainly did not know how to abuse his opponents as 
did Burrington. As a man he therefore presents a 
great contrast to his predecessor, but as a governor 
he was in several respects less successful than Bur- 
rington, being careless in many important matters. 

His administration was characterized by less conflict 
than that of Burrington, there being practical agree- 
ment on many points between himself and the other 
officers. When it began there was open hostility be- 
tween the governor and practically all of the other 
officers, but by the end of 1735 this had to a large 

1 C. It. IV, preface, p. iii. 

2 C. It. IV, preface, pp. vii, xx, xxi. 


extent ceased. In 1734 little had been done toward 
putting in operation the royal government. Burring- 
ton had done something toward this, but not much; 
and what he had done was accomplished wholly by the 
executive, as he had never been able to influence the 
legislature to take any part in the new government. 
The collection of quit-rents due to the crown had not 
been provided for, and nothing had been done to im- 
prove the system of defence or militia. 1 Johnston had, 
therefore, many difficult tasks. Some of them he un- 
dertook with intelligence and energy ; to others he paid 
little attention. 

His opening speech to the assembly of 1735 shows 
that he was interested in the true welfare of the crown 
and of the colonists. He stated that he had called an 
early meeting of the legislature in order to put an end 
to the great confusion in the provincial affairs. He 
made no requests for himself, but only for good gov- 
ernment. He asked the legislature to consider the 
question of quit-rents and currency, and to provide for 
the equitable collection of the one and to maintain the 
par value of the other. He further asked them to pro- 
vide for the commercial welfare of the province and for 
the defence and militia. 2 The spirit of this speech and 
the manner in which he delivered it give sufficient evi- 
dence that he desired harmony and good feeling. He 
assured the assembly that it might examine all ac- 
counts of the expenditures of public moneys. In 1739 
he again begged the representatives to lay aside all 

i C. R. IV, 23-25, 242-43. 
2 C. R. IV, 77-79. 


disputes and to act in harmony, urging them to provide 
for better public worship ; also for the collection of all 
the provincial laws so that they might be better known 
to the colonists, and for more efficient trade facilities. 1 
In 1744 he asked the assembly to assign more conveni- 
ent places in which the courts should be held so that 
they might become more efficient. 2 His conflicts with 
the upper and lower houses of the legislature were 
not very many or serious, and most important legisla- 
tion was enacted during his administration. Between 
1738 and 1750 seven laws concerning lands were 
passed. 3 He was, to be sure, not the sole promoter 
of these; some of them he requested, others were 
passed by the legislature and merely assented to by 
him. He secured the passage of three important mili- 
tia acts, those of 1740, 1746 and 1749. 4 In all he held 
nineteen sessions of the legislature and assented to one 
hundred and thirty-one public acts, and only three of 
these were repealed by the crown. 5 However, a study 
of these acts and the part which he took in their passage 
reveals the fact that he did not have very much to do 
with them and that in many cases he gave considerable 
privileges to the legislature, while assenting to its bills. 
Several of these acts were intended more to secure the 
interests of the colonists than the efficiency of the crown 

1 C. E. IV, 356-57. 

2C. R. IV, 720-21. 

3 Swann, 85, 90, 138, 155, 275, 285, 329. 

* Swann, 119, 215, 305. 

5 Swann, 79-371, 85, 90, 116. 


Johnston's relations with the council as an executive 
body were practically harmonious. He held many ses- 
sions of this body and considered a variety of subjects, 
but the chief business of the council under him was the 
hearing of petitions for grants of land and the issuing 
of warrants for such grants. l 

He failed to keep the home authorities well informed 
as to colonial matters, especially during the last ten 
years of his administration. In his letters to the board 
of trade or secretary of state he never made any impor- 
tant statements concerning the growth of population, 
the prosperity of the colonists in farming, manufactur- 
ing or trade. In this he was far less active than Burr- 
ington or Dobbs. In 1745 the board of trade com- 
plained that it had been more than three years since 
they had received a letter from him, and they com- 
plained of not receiving any reports on provincial mat- 
ters. 2 During the first six years of his administration 
he wrote many letters to the authorities in England, but 
after 1742 he was apparently very negligent in this. 
The board of trade did not receive a single letter or 
report from him between December, 1741, and June, 
1746. 3 However, he wrote to them in 1747, and again 
in 1748, that he had been writing regularly, always 
sending duplicates. 4 In this he was either making a 
false statement or the facilities for carrying letters 
were far less efficient from 1741 to 1746 than at any 

1 C. R. IV, passim ; MS. Warrants and Grants. 

2 C. R. IV, 75G-57. 
f*C. R. IV, 797. 

*C. R. IV, 797, 869. 


other time during the royal government. It is prob- 
able, however, that the war which was then going on 
did well nigh destroy the facilities for carrying mail. 
In December, 1748, Corbin, Dobbs and others sent a 
memorial to the Duke of Bedford, secretary of state 
for the southern department, in which it was stated 
that Johnston had long been very negligent in keeping 
the home authorities informed concerning the province. 
This memorial further charged that he had acted very 
arbitrarily in judicial matters, that he had assented to 
the issue of paper bills of credit when he had been spe- 
cifically instructed not to do so, and that the govern- 
ment of the province was in great confusion. 1 And at 
about the same time the attorney-general, Thomas 
Child, made like charges to the home government. 2 
However, James Abercromby, agent, during the early 
part of the next year declared to the board of trade that 
the above named complaints and charges had originated 
in England, not in North Carolina, and that they were 
false. 3 There is some internal evidence in the two me- 
morials of complaint against Johnston that Abercrom- 
by 's statement was in part true. In February, 1749, 
the board of trade made a full report on the memorials. 
This report stated that no letters had been received 
between December, 1741, and June, 1746, and no journ- 
als of the legislature during this time excepting those 
of the lower house for 1744, 1745, and 1746. The re- 
port also stated that the evidence then available to the 

i C. R. IV, 926. 

2 C. R. IV, 928. 

3 C. R. IV, 928-30. 


board seemed to show that the memorialists against 
Johnston were partially correct. 1 Bnt Johnston in 
writing to the board, September, 1751, declared that he 
had sent the journals of the legislature regularly. 2 

It is difficult to judge what the truth is in regard to 
this charge of negligence on the part of Johnston. 
Shall we believe the reports of the board of trade or 
the written statements of Johnston! The board has 
stated that no letters or journals were received during 
certain years, and Johnston has declared in writing 
that he sent them. The records, as they now exist in 
England, show that the board was correct in its state- 
ments. Still Johnston may be correct, as his letters 
and reports might have miscarried; but this does not 
appear to be very probable. It is most probable that 
Johnston wrote few letters during his old age, and that 
some of those which he did write miscarried. Though 
he perhaps neglected to keep the home authorities well 
and frequently informed during the last ten years of 
his term, he did not fail to attend to his duties towards 
the colonists; he held twelve sessions of the legisla- 
ture after 1742 and passed several of the most impor- 
tant acts of his administration between 1742 and 1750. 

He, like Burrington, received very little salary. In 
1746, in writing to the board of trade, he stated that he 
had received no pay during the past eight years. 3 
Even as late as 1791 there was still due to his family 

i C. R. IV, 930-31, 935-36, 941. 

2 C. R. IV, 1075. 

3 C. R. IV, 792-93. 


on his salary while governor over two thousand 
pounds. 1 

On the death of Johnston, Nathaniel Rice, the first 
councillor, became the acting governor. He died Jan- 
uary 29, 1753. Matthew Rowan, the next councillor, 
then assumed control 2 and was the acting chief execu- 
tive until Dobbs arrived. Rowan was very active and 
intelligent during his short administration. He sent 
to the home authorities good and pointed reports ; and 
these were well received by the board of trade. He 
held several different meetings of the council for execu- 
tive purposes, and one assembly which passed eight 
public acts. 3 

Johnston's successor, Arthur Dobbs, Esquire, was 
commissioned early in 1753, but did not reach the 
province until late in 1754. He took the oaths and test 
November 1, 1754, and remained in office until his 
death, March 28, 1765. 4 He was Scotch-Irish by birth. 
The exact date of his birth is not known, but it was 
probably before 1690. In 1720 he was high sheriff of 
Antrim county and later became a member of the Irish 
parliament. He was also engineer and surveyor-gen- 
eral of Ireland under Robert Walpole's administration 
as the prime minister of England. He was the author 
of books on the improvement and trade of his native 
country. It appears that his appointment as governor 
of North Carolina was largely due to his former ser- 

iThe New Annual Register, 1791, 128. 

l C. R. IV, 1314; V, 17-18. 

3C. R. V, 17, 18, 23-25, 29, 77, 108-09, 123-24; Davis, 1765, II, 17. 

*C. R. V, 144g-144h; VI, 1320. 


vices to the crown and to the fact that he had been an 
officer of considerable ability and fine character. l 
When he began his duties as governor he was at least 
sixty-five years of age and knew nothing about the 
colonists, their ideas and conditions. He was wholly 
ignorant of the real resources of the province. Still he 
was received with much pleasure, and at once began to 
make himself acquainted with his new surroundings. 
He had to govern at a critical time, when the English 
were struggling with the French for the mastery of 
North America, when the cause of Protestantism was 
in conflict with Romanism, and when most of the In- 
dians were in arms either against the English or French. 
He entered into the conflict with much activity and zeal. 
Under his leadership North Carolina did much for the 
cause of the crown. He was a strong supporter of the 
rights and privileges of the crown, even to the disad- 
vantage of the colonists. Though a strong prerogative 
governor, he showed much intelligence in his relation 
with the province until about 1760, when poor health 
began to impair his ability. From this time until 1765 
he was more arbitrary and far less active. It was 
during the last four years that the authorities in Eng- 
land made complaints about his obstinate policy and 
his very poor reports. 2 On account of poor health he 
made a request of the crown for a leave of absence for 
one year. This leave was readily granted and Tryon 
was commissioned as lieutenant-governor, April 26, 
1764 ; his commission gave him the power of acting as 

1 C. R. V, preface, pp. iv-v. 

2 C. R. V, preface, pp. vi, vii, viii; VI, passim. 


governor in the absence or upon the death of Dobbs. 1 
Tryon arrived in the province in October, but Dobbs 
did not at once take his leave. He remained as the 
actual chief executive until his death. 2 

Dobbs confessed his ignorance of the province and 
at once after taking the oaths began to make an investi- 
gation into provincial affairs. He made a special ex- 
amination of the defences of the colony, and of the 
position and strength of the Indians located within or 
on the borders. He also made full reports of the con- 
ditions, as far as he understood them, to the home 
government. In 1755, 1756 and 1757, the board of 
trade in writing to him expressed their great satisfac- 
tion at his efforts to explore and defend the colony 
against the Indians, and at the full reports which he 
had sent to them. They also assured him that his 
energy and zeal would receive the king's highest ap- 
proval. In November, 1757, they expressed great 
pleasure at his success in securing supplies from the 
legislature with which to carry on the wars, to defend 
North Carolina and to aid the other colonies. 3 

"When his administration began the province was in 
a good condition; there was much activity in agricul- 
tural pursuits and much general prosperity. There 
were about 100,000 people in the province in 1754, and 
though his term was one of almost constant war, still 
by 1765 the population had increased to about 125,000. 4 

» C. R. VI, 1043-44. 

2 C. R. VI, 1320. 

a C. R. V, 413-17, 419-20, 563, 748, 786. 

4 C. R. V, preface, pp. xxx-ix. 


He showed much interest in informing the home au- 
thorities concerning the material conditions of the 
province, especially during the first five years of his 
administration. He and the council issued a good 
many land warrants and grants, though some of them 
were not judiciously given. 1 

His relations with the lower house of the legislature 
were cordial until about 1760, and after this there were 
no very serious quarrels between them. The repre- 
sentatives granted his requests for money without very 
much discussion until 1760; from 1760 to 1762 they 
frequently complained of his demands for money and 
of his whole administration. These complaints were 
made chiefly because he often asked for money with 
which to carry on the war against the French and In- 
dians. In all he held seventeen assemblies and passed 
one hundred and fifty-five public acts, only five of 
which were disallowed by the crown. He enacted two 
good militia laws, only slightly changing the acts of 
1746 and 1749. He secured the passage of five fairly 
good laws concerning land. 2 At almost every session 
of the legislature from 1754 to 1762 he asked for troops, 
supplies, fortifications, stores and magazines ; 3 the de- 
fence of the province and aid to the crown were his 
chief aims. He insisted on these, even to the neglect 
of everything else. It was necessary to provide for 
the defence of the colony, and the legislature agreed 

1 MS. Warrants and Grants; C. R. V-VI, passim. 

2 Davis, 1705, II, 34-386, 35, 70-72, 82-84, 192-97, 211-12, 309-15, 

3 C. R. V, 233-36, 496, 639, 831; VI, 133, 802. 


with him in this. But to Dobbs it was much more im- 
portant to aid the other colonies, especially those in 
the north than to defend or work for the interests solely 
of North Carolina. To drive the French from North 
America seemed to him of far more importance than to 
make North Carolina a very prosperous province. The 
legislators on the other hand cared much more for 
their own province and its welfare than they did about 
the French. To them the defence of the province was 
the chief object. It was due to these different points 
of view that Dobbs and the assembly could not agree 
on several important questions, especially from 1760 
to 1762. Though he gave his greatest energy and zeal 
to making war, he still asked the legislature to provide 
a permanent and suitable fund for the governor and 
government, a better system of teaching religion to 
the colonists, a more careful collection of the taxes and 
quit-rents, and a more just financial system. 1 In May, 
1760, the lower house drew up fourteen resolutions 
of complaint against his administration. 2 But he, in 
a letter to the board of trade during August of the same 
year, defended himself against these charges. One of 
them was that he had not judiciously applied the funds 
granted by the assembly as aids to the crown. He de- 
nied this, and as the evidence goes to show, he was jus- 
tified in so doing. To its charge, that he had received 
one thousand pounds out of the dividend from England 
to the American colonies and that he had not accounted 
for the same, he answered that he had been compelled 

1 C. R. V, 233-36, 496-97, 659-60. 

2 C. R. VI, 410-13. 


to use this for the troops, as the lower house had not 
made sufficient provision for them. The other com- 
plaints were of a more general nature. The records 
which both parties left indicate that Dobbs was to a 
large extent discharging his duty according to his in- 
structions. He was very uncompromising in this at 
times, but there is no doubt of his sincerity and hon- 
esty. While he was making too many claims in favor 
of prerogative government, the lower house was at the 
same time claiming rights and privileges which did 
not constitutionally belong to it. 

In some of the extreme positions the board of trade 
did not sustain him. In April, 1761, they, in a letter to 
him, declared that he had hindered his majesty's service 
by insisting too much on trivial points and on the mere 
letter of his instructions, that he had not considered 
sufficiently the difficulties of the situation, and conse- 
quently had brought on a dispute with the legislature 
at a time which demanded harmony above all things. 
He had claimed the right of nominating an agent to 
represent the province in England. The lower house 
also had claimed this as its exclusive right. No agree- 
ment could be reached on this, and Dobbs rejected a 
supply bill because it contained an agent clause, at a 
time when the crown's service demanded the money. 
The board declared that he had no right to insist 
on the nomination of the agent, that the lower house had 
the right to nominate such an officer. They further 
stated that his rejection of an aid bill because of a fail- 
ure to agree on one point was trivial and foolish. l 

'C. "R. VI, 538-41. 


From this time until the end of his administration the 
home authorities did not sustain him in several of his 
acts. During December, 1761, the board of trade in a 
report to the crown, concerning three acts passed by 
the legislature and agreed to by Dobbs in May, 1760, 
relating to superior courts, inferior courts and orphans, 
advised it to disallow them because of the extraordinary 
clauses concerning the qualifications of associate 
judges, the duration of their commissions, and the 
jurisdiction of the inferior courts. They also repri- 
manded Dobbs for assenting to such acts, because they 
were in direct violation of his instructions. The board 
of trade again in 1762 informed the king that Dobbs in 
assenting to the vestry and clergy act of 1760 had 
shown another evidence of inattention to his instruc- 
tions. 1 It should be stated, however, that in these acts 
Dobbs had been under much compulsion from the lower 
house. He had to assent to some of them in order to 
secure the passage of any acts at all. But in spite of 
such statements from the board of trade there is evi- 
dence that they and the other officers in England had 
much respect for Dobbs, though he was now in old age 
and poor health. Before 1761 they had full sympathy 
and appreciation for his services, and they continued to 
respect him to the end. As evidence of this, Lord 
Egremont, secretary of state for the southern depart- 
ment, November, 1762, in a letter to him declared that 
the king was especially sensible of his great zeal in 
raising troops for the war. 2 

i C. It. VI, 589-91, 723. 
2C. R. VI, 736. 


Concerning his salary he had practically the same 
experiences as the former governors. In March, 1764, 
he wrote to the board of trade that the lower house had 
refused to settle a salary on him and to pay the rent 
of a house for his use. 1 Though no provision was 
made for a definite support for him, both houses had 
much respect for his administration, even to the end. 
In November, 1764, they made him addresses, in which 
they declared that he had been wise, steady and uni- 
form in working for his majesty and the province, and 
that his administration had been good and pure. 2 

Upon the death of Dobbs, William Tryon, who had 
already arrived with a commission as lieutenant-gov- 
ernor, became the chief executive. He was given a 
commission as governor July 19, 1765, and took the 
oaths and test on December 20 of the same year. 3 He 
remained as the governor until June 30, 1771, 4 when he 
resigned to become the chief executive of the colony of 
New York. Tryon was an Englishman by birth and a 
soldier by profession. He had gone through the ranks 
to lieutenant-colonelcy, and after he left North Carolina 
won the titles of colonel, major and major-general. 
He was a man of much influence at the court. For 
this reason, as well as for his ability, he secured the 
appointment as governor of North Carolina. 5 In his 
relations with the colonists he was shrewd and diplo- 

i C. R. VI, 1039-41. 

2 C. R. VI, 1249, 1316. 

3 C. R. VII, 4, 133. 
* C. R. VIII, 627. 

5 C. R. VIII, preface, pp. xxxiv-xxxviii. 


matic, proud and fond of the show of a soldier's life. 
He was still young when he came to the province and 
showed much activity and ability in keeping himself 
in high favor with its leaders. 

In 1767 he wrote to the secretary of state for the 
southern department a long report on the polity of the 
province. In this he stated with much clearness how 
the province was governed, what officers, executive, 
legislative, judicial, there were, how these performed 
their duties and what rights and privileges they had. 1 
From the standpoint of style and comprehensiveness 
this is more than an ordinary document. It gives evi- 
dence that Tryon, though a soldier by profession, knew 
much of government and politics and that his ability 
was considerable. It is not strange, therefore, that the 
king was highly pleased with such a paper and with 
his administration up to the time of the writing of it. 2 

It was during his administration that the insurrec- 
tion known as the war of the "regulation" occurred. 
This was an uprising among the people of the counties 
of the western part of the province, Orange being the 
center. These people complained of many and griev- 
ous burdens of government, that they were unjustly 
taxed, and that they were refused justice at the hands 
of the provincial officers. Tryon was ready to act in 
keeping the peace of the whole province and in putting 
down this insurrection. In April, 1768, he issued a 
proclamation to the colonel of the militia of Orange 
County, ordering him to be ready to act against the 

i C. R. VII, 472-91. 
2 C. R. VII, 737-38. 


' ' regulators ' ' in case of need. On the same day he by 
another proclamation commanded the insurrectionists 
to disperse and go to their homes, and gave orders to 
all officers and citizens to put down the insurrection, if 
the " regulators ' ' should go to extremes. 1 He made a 
military expedition to Hillsborough, the official town of 
Orange County, in September of this year, with a view 
of settling these troubles, 2 and again during the early 
part of 1771. The second expedition completely 
crushed the insurrection of about two thousand men. 3 
He put down the " regulators ' ' by force of arms, but 
did little or nothing to remedy the causes which 
brought on the uprising. 

He issued several grants of land and assented to 
three acts concerning the administration of the lands. 5 
In his ideas concerning the militia and defence he was 
not original, as he carried out substantially the same 
policy as Johnston and Dobbs. He held six assemblies 
and passed one hundred and sixteen public acts. 6 Of 
these the crown disallowed eight, more than it dis- 
allowed of those passed by Johnston or Dobbs. And 
a study of the legislative acts of Tryon's administration 
reveals the fact that he did not attempt very seriously 
to improve the conditions of the colony, his chief ener- 
gies being given toward keeping himself in high favor 
with the political leaders. 

i C. R. VII, 718-19, 721. 

2 C. R. VII, 887-88. 

a C. R. VIII, 574-621. 

* MS. Warrants and Grants. 

s Davis, 1773, 344, 464, 491. 

6 Davis, 1765, II, 393; Davis, 1773, 338-495. 


In his dealings with the members of the lower house, 
as with the other officers, he was very diplomatic and 
clever, and consequently left no record of serious con- 
flict with any of them. In his opening speeches to the 
assembly he showed much ability in managing men ; he 
made them understand his wants and requests, but 
never made opponents of them by the manner in which 
he spoke. He asked for the continuance of the fortifi- 
cations at Fort Johnston and for an efficient provision 
for powder and lead. He asked them to continue the 
judicial system of Dobbs, to look after the condition of 
the public finances and to make a better provision for 
the sheriffs. He urged them to consider the impor- 
tance of the office of sheriff, to see that more fees were 
allowed and that better men were appointed to the 
office. In 1768 he laid before the assembly a full ac- 
count of the ' l regulation ' ' troubles in the western 
counties, and asked it to make a careful investigation 
into the matter, to find out what the causes were, to 
relieve the insurgents if they suffered real grievances, 
and especially to provide a military force with which 
to put them down. In this recommendation he gave 
evidence that he was much more anxious for a suitable 
armed force, with which to crush the insurrection, than 
he was for the correction of the abuses. And in 1770 
he made the statement to the assembly that he would be 
glad to see a public school established in the western 
counties, for the purpose of teaching and educating the 
men of the frontier. 1 

He thought that a strong military force would have 

1 C. R. VII, 292-95, 890-92; VIII, 283-85. 


a good influence npon the colonists, especially those in 
the Avest. To him the highest product of good govern- 
ment was a well organized and equipped army. When, 
in 1767, he surveyed the boundary line for the Cherokee 
Indians he took along with the surveyors a considerable 
cavalcade of soldiers. This was done in a time of 
peace, when there was no longer any fear of the Chero- 
kees, and at a cost to the colonists of about 1490 
pounds. 1 Still there was some need of convincing the 
Indians of the power of the royal government. He was 
very extravagant in his ideas and consequently was 
always in need of much money, either for himself or 
his government. While his predecessors had received 
very little of their salary, he by clever diplomacy ob- 
tained about all the money he desired. His military 
expeditions to the western counties in 1768 and 1771 
cost about 44,844 pounds. 2 He was also able to per- 
suade the assembly to build for him a palace at a cost 
of 15,000 pounds. 3 

Though he had performed no service for the prov- 
ince of a permanent nature— excepting his successful 
defeat of the "regulators," which, while it put down 
an insurrection of about two thousand poor people and 
thereby exalted the power of the crown, increased the 
debt of the colony by almost 50,000 pounds 4 — his de- 
parture was much lamented by many of the political 
leaders. In December, 1770, both houses of the legisla- 

i C. R. VII, 991-1009. 

2 C. R. VII, 887-88 ; VIII, 574-623. 

3 Davis, 1773, 342-43, 394-95. 

4 Unless otherwise stated, in proclamation. 


made addresses to him, in which they stated that he 
had done all in his power to aid the province. In 
July, 1771, President Has sell in writing to Secretary 
Hillsborough declared that no governor had left the 
province more beloved by the people. l However, these 
complimentary statements from the legislature and the 
acting chief executive can not be taken with too much 
seriousness. There is much evidence to show that 
Tryon made himself very agreeable to many of the 
colonists, especially the political leaders and influen- 
tial men, and that he commanded their support and 
affection to a high degree. But his success in win- 
ning the confidence of the officers of the government 
in England and in the province was due to a very con- 
siderable extent to his tact rather than to what he 
really accomplished. He was successful as a soldier, 
but in solving the great problems of his administration 
he accomplished little. 

When Tryon left, James Hassell, the first councillor, 
became the acting governor, and as such took the oaths, 
July 1, 1771. 2 In December, 1770, Josiah Martin, 
Esquire, was commissioned as Tryon 's successor. He 
did not assume control of the administration until 
August 12, 1771. 3 He remained in office until the 
royal government was overthrown by the revolution; 
and on August 8, 1775, from his majesty's sloop 
Cruizer he issued his last proclamation. 4 

iC. R. VIII, 289-90, 311-12; IX, 9. 
2C. R. IX 3 3-4. 

3C. R. VIII, 267, 512-16; IX, 15. 
*C. R. X, 141-51. 



Martin was an Englishman, and was about thirty-five 
years of age when he began his duties as governor. 
He was a soldier in the British army from 1756 to 
1769, when he sold his commission. As a soldier he 
had served as ensign and major, and had won the rank 
of lieutenant-colonel. 1 As a governor he was plain, 
blunt, lacking in tact, and was inclined to exalt pre- 
rogative too highly. He never could understand the 
sentiments and demands of the colonists ; he could not 
see or appreciate their point of view, and was much 
like Burrington in being intolerant of differences of 
opinion. To him it was absolutely necessary to carry 
out, even to the letter, his instructions from the crown. 
Try on had been an excellent servant of the crown, and 
he also knew how to make himself agreeable to many 
people. In this latter quality Martin was wholly lack- 
ing ; he could not make himself agreeable to many of 
the colonists. The difficulties of his situation, his lack 
of tact, his exaltation of the royal prerogative at a time 
when the colonists were claiming many rights of self- 
government— all caused him much trouble. He began 
his administration with many difficult problems and 
tasks. He had to pacify the " regulators ' ' whom 
Tryon had put down by force of arms. He had to face 
large debts and a poor judicial system ; both of which 
involved problems which Tryon had not solved. 

He held three assemblies and passed eighty-nine 
public acts. The fact that none of these was disal- 
lowed by the crown 2 is evidence that he was much re- 

1 C. R. IX, preface, pp. iii-iv. 

2 Davis, 1773, 496-566; Iredell, 1791, 270-74. 


spected by the crown officers in England. In his open- 
ing speeches to the assembly he recommended several 
things which were for the true interest of the province. 
He asked it to provide a good system of militia and 
defence, to investigate the causes which led to the 
" regulation " war, to remove the abuses, to pardon 
those guilty of insurrection, and to enact laws for the 
more efficient administration of finance and justice. 1 
He made no demands for himself, as Tryon was in the 
habit of doing, but only for the crown 's interest in the 
colony. Though his requests were wholly unselfish 
and really for the welfare of the province, he and the 
legislature became involved in many and serious con- 
flicts, especially over fiscal and judicial questions. 
The legislature insisted upon claims which his instruc- 
tions compelled him to reject, and he was obstinate in 
commanding them to agree to the very letter of his 
instructions. In spite of the fact that eighty-nine pub- 
lic acts were passed and agreed to by him, all the legis- 
lative sessions under him were stormy, especially so 
whenever judicial or fiscal questions came up. 

In his struggle with the legislature the home authori- 
ties in the main stood by him. The board of trade and 
crown approved of his zeal and interest. 2 Expres- 
sions of this approval came at many different times. 
Lord Dartmouth, secretary of the American depart- 
ment, in writing to him, May 4, 1774, lamented the very 
bad state of affairs in the province but declared that 
he and the other authorities highly approved of Mar- 
ie. R. IX, 101-03, 397, 833. 
2 C. R. IX, 277, 618. 


tin's acts, especially during the stormy session of the 
assembly, March, 1774, when he had adjourned it after 
he saw no hope of success for the royal cause. Again 
in October of the same year Dartmouth declared to him 
that the king regarded him as a most faithful servant. 
In this letter, Dartmouth expressed the opinion of the 
crown in regard to the extreme ideas and demands of 
the assembly, that they were making unwarrantable 
encroachments. * 

After the session of March, 1774, Martin felt that 
everything was in a very serious condition in the 
American colonies, and that the people of North Caro- 
lina were too much excited over the struggles of the 
last assembly to call another for the time. The colon- 
ists were not to be kept quiet by this means. John 
Harvey called a provincial congress for August 25, 
1774, and the freeholders, at least the more radical 
ones, elected deputies to it. 2 This was done without 
the consent of the governor, and he by a proclamation 
complained of such revolutionary proceeding. 3 Still 
the congress met at Newbern at the appointed time. 
It elected and instructed three delegates to the pro- 
posed continental congress at Philadelphia and adopted 
a large number of resolutions, defining their position 
against the bad government of the crown's ministers. 4 
It then adjourned, August 27. The first continental 
congress asked for a second at Philadelphia in 1775. 

iC. R. IX, 988, 1077. 
*C. R. IX, 1031-41. 
3C. R. IX, 1029-30. 
*C. R. IX, 1041-49. 


In February, 1775, John Harvey called for a second 
provincial congress, to meet April 3. 1 Martin issued 
a proclamation against this. 2 The election, however, 
took place and the congress met at Newbern at the des- 
ignated time, in spite of his proclamation. 3 It highly 
approved of the actions of the first continental con- 
gress and chose delegates to the second. This provin- 
cial congress met at the same time and place as the 
assembly which Martin had called. Most of the mem- 
bers of the lower house were also in the congress. The 
governor could, therefore, do nothing with the assembly 
and dissolved it on April 8. 4 

Martin now did not feel safe at Newbern, and in 
May, 1775, went to Fort Johnston, at the mouth of the 
Cape Fear River. From this time he was not the 
actual governor, and there was no longer a royal gov- 
ernment in the province. 5 He saw so much of rebel- 
lion and revolution all over the colony that he did not 
feel safe at Fort Johnston and went on board His 
Majesty's sloop Cruizer. b From the sloop he issued 
several proclamations, but these were wholly unheeded 
by the colonists. 7 

Upon the whole, therefore, the royal governors of 
North Carolina make a good showing, though they were 
the agents of an inefficient system. The machinery of 
English colonial government in the eighteenth century 

i C. R. IX, 1145. 

2C. R. IX, 1145-46. 

'C. R. IX, 1178-85. 

*C. R. IX, 1178-79, 1187-1205. 

5C. R. IX, 1254-58. 

6C. R. X, 1-69. 

7 C. R. X, 141-51. 


lacked much in unity and dispatch. The board of 
trade was slow in making its decision on colonial mat- 
ters, and the law officers of the crown required still 
more time. The secretaries and the king did not pay 
very great attention to many matters, though import- 
ant. The records of North Carolina afford much evi- 
dence of the carelessness and dilatory habits of the 
home government. With the exception of the last ten 
years of Johnston's administration, the governors were 
careful to keep the crown well informed respecting 
provincial affairs. During the whole period they at- 
tended to the administration of the province with much 
interest, though at times with little intelligence. They 
all seemed to have as their chief aim the welfare of the 
crown and of the province. The records show that 
they were honest servants ; their mistakes were mainly 
those of judgment. At times they adhered obstinately 
to the letter of their instructions and in so doing ren- 
dered their position and that of the crown weak. 
They often forgot that the people under the proprie- 
tors governed themselves almost without restraint, and 
often ignored the fact that a people with such a history 
would not readily yield to prerogative government. 
So far as actual achievements are concerned, Burring- 
ton and Martin did the least. But it must be remem- 
bered that Burrington was the first royal governor and 
that consequently he had to make the first attempts to 
uphold the royal prerogative, an institution the spirit 
of which they did not understand or appreciate. Mar- 
tin was the last governor, and as such had to face the 
revolutionary spirit then abroad in all the American 


The Council Under the Crown. 

The position of the governor in a royal province has 
been discussed. He was the chief executive, but by no 
means the whole of the executive department. In ex- 
ercising his powers and discharging his duties it was 
necessary for him to consult the council, and in several 
matters he could not act without their advice and con- 
sent. He was not only restricted by the fact that he 
must make reports of his acts to the board of trade 
and crown, but he must also act according to the advice 
of his councillors. As a rule the governor's relations 
with the council were close and friendly; they both 
represented the same institution, the crown, and were 
amenable for their acts to the same power. Burring- 
ton's relations with the council, however, were very un- 
pleasant, chiefly for personal reasons, and Martin dur- 
ing the last few months of his administration could not 
act in harmony with this body, chiefly because the coun- 
cillors were taking the side of the colonists in their 
extreme demands, while he was exalting prerogative 

The council was provided for in the commissions 
and instructions from the crown to the governor; the 
first list of councillors was as a rule named in the in- 
structions to the governor. When a vacancy occurred 



in this, the king, with the co-operation of the board of 
trade, filled it by giving a commission to the one they 
approved out of the number recommended by the gov- 
ernor. The commissions and instructions to the gov- 
ernor also specified the powers and privileges of the 
council. The councillors, therefore, did not receive 
their powers from the people of the province and hence 
were not so much inclined to enter into their feelings. 
They were largely under the control of the governor. 
He might suspend any of them for misconduct or fail- 
ure to discharge their duties, but the reasons for so 
doing must always be sent to the board of trade and 
king, who had a final decision in the matter. This 
provision placed them, as well as the governor, under 
the ultimate control of the authorities in England. 
Burrington's instructions stated that, if any councillor 
residing in the province should wilfully absent him- 
self from the council when duly summoned, and with- 
out lawful cause should persist therein after being 
admonished, the governor might suspend him until the 
crown's pleasure was known. 1 The instructions to the 
later governors contained substantially the same pro- 
visions. Several suspensions were made by the gov- 
ernor, but some of those suspended by him were re- 
stored by the crown. The governor could also fill 
vacancies, if the number of councillors fell below 
seven, but this was done subject to the royal will. 

The council acted as an adjunct to the governor and 
was, therefore, in this respect an executive body. 
When the governor died or was absent from the prov- 
ed R. Ill, 93. 


ince, the president of the council acted as the chief 
executive for the time, as was the case of presidents 
Rice, Rowan and Hassell. The same body also con- 
stituted the upper house of the legislature. As the 
upper house the council held its sessions at the same 
time with the lower house. Sometimes it was in ses- 
sion as a semi-legislative body when the lower house 
was not in session, and as such it and the governor 
passed certain necessary ordinances. 

The council as an executive body had a very con- 
siderable share in the administration of the territorial 
system and administration. The governor was or- 
dered to exercise his territorial powers by their advice 
and consent; 1 and in this he rarely disobeyed his in- 
structions. They, with the chief executive, issued the 
warrants and grants, 2 decided upon the question 
whether lands should be granted to certain persons and 
whether lands were escheated or forfeited. It was 
their duty also to see that the quit-rents were properly 
collected. They heard many complaints about the 
legality of grants, decided whether quit-rents were 
payable in certain products, and what should be the 
value of such products, summoned persons before 
them to show why they held or laid claim to lands, 
heard petitions for regrants, erected a court of ex- 
chequer for adjusting all cases relating to the crown's 
revenue from lands, and appointed assistant barons to 
the said court. They also ordered that the governor 
sit in the council at certain times to hear and deter- 

ic. R. Ill, 101. 

2 MS. Warrants and Grants. 


mine all claims pertaining to land, and decided npon 
the time when the surveyor-general should make his 
returns. 1 

The council also shared largely in the general ad- 
ministration of the province. In this the governor 
could not act without the advice and consent of at least 
five councillors, unless upon very urgent business, 
when he might advise with only three. 2 In this capac- 
ity as a general administrative body the council had a 
large variety of duties. They ordered letters patent 
to be issued to the chief justice, secretary and other 
patent officers whom the crown had appointed, which 
instructed them to begin their duties in the province, 
and ordered commissions of the peace to be issued 
appointing certain persons justices of the peace. 
They appointed administrators of certain private es- 
tates and sat in judgment over the administration, 3 
heard complaints against the officers of the province 
and at times advised the governor to suspend them 
from their office, even that of the council, recommended 
to the governor persons fit to fill the vacancies pending 
the royal pleasure, heard and granted petitions for 
new precincts, summoned precinct treasurers to appear 
before them and exhibit their accounts, ordered sheriffs 
to complete the collection of taxes by certain times, 
considered all questions pertaining to the affairs of the 
Indians located within or on the borders of the prov- 

i C. R. Ill, 219, 276, 401, 424-26; IV, 36-38, 40, 43, 44, 53, 71; 
V, 489, 656; VI, 1073-76; VIII, 160-64, 192; MS. Warrants and 

2 C. R. Ill, 91. 

3C. R. Ill, 214-15, 217, 224, 234. 


ince, heard and advised the governor to grant petitions 
for reprieve to certain persons under heavy sentences, 
and finally could appoint a committee to act jointly 
with a committee from the lower house in examining 
and auditing all public claims and accounts. 1 While 
in many of these matters the council merely advised, 
still the governor rarely acted contrary to their advice. 
Very frequently matters were left entirely to a major- 
ity of the councillors and the governor acted in strict 
accordance with their decision. 

The council had some judicial powers and duties, 
though these were mainly of the nature of advice. 
They advised that commissions be issued appointing 
assistant justices of the general court, and that courts 
of oyer and terminer be held at certain times and 
places. They, with the governor, issued commissions 
of the peace, appointing themselves, the secretary, 
attorney-general, assistant justices and the chairmen 
of the precincts— all justices of the peace. The gov- 
ernor in the council, with at least four members, could 
act as a court of chancery, to hear and decide all cases 
in equity. 2 

The council was a legislative as well as an executive 
body, and no act could be passed unless it gave its 
assent. As the upper house it kept its own journals, 
and these give abundant evidence that this body bore 
a very important part in the law-making of the prov- 

iC. R. Ill, 405-10, 412, 414, 417, 421, 425; IV, 2, 33, 233-34, 
461-62; V, 828, 1017; VI, 330-31, 758, 773, 1009. 

2C. R. Ill, 204, 251, 425, 428; VI, 1009, 1017; VII, 5; VIII, 269- 


ince. In practically all matters it had equal rights, 
powers and privileges with the lower house; in some 
points it had greater powers. The upper house alone 
could declare a hill rejected or order it engrossed hy 
the lower house; and all hills must pass hoth houses, 
through three readings, receive a majority vote in each 
and he engrossed before they could go to the governor 
for his signature. Either house could make amend- 
ments to the other's bills. Frequent conferences of 
the two houses were held over the amendments ; some- 
times they came to an agreement, but very often did 
not. When no agreement could be reached, the upper 
house declared the bill for which the amendments had 
been proposed and not accepted rejected. This right 
of rejecting all bills to which it could not assent was 
very frequently exercised by the upper house, and gave 
it considerable influence. And the council in a semi- 
legislative capacity at times advised the governor to 
assent to or reject bills which had passed both houses. 1 
In its executive capacity it advised the governor to 
prorogue, dissolve, or call the assembly, and such ad- 
vice was as a rule acted upon by the governor. 2 The 
council had, therefore, a two-fold law-making function, 
one as an executive and the other as a purely legisla- 
tive body. When it was determined to do so, it could 
block or hinder any legislation, in spite of the demands 
of the governor and the lower house, but the lower 
house could in reality do the same. As a rule, how- 
ever, it was in sympathy with the position of the chief 

•C. R. III-IX, passim. 

*C. R. Ill, 415, 536; IV, 4G1; V, 34; VII, 752; VIII, 37, 150. 


executive in his attempts to secure the passage of cer- 
tain acts. The councillors, like the governor, were 
agents of the crown, and in exercising their law-mak- 
ing powers they for the most part entertained ideas 
similar to his. 

It is difficult to estimate exactly how efficient the 
council as an executive body was. The records seem 
to point to the conclusion that upon the whole this body 
was not very efficient, though its policy was to support 
the home government. Under Burrington it did little 
but dispute over personal or constitutional matters. 
Under Johnston, Dobbs and Tryon, there was prac- 
tical agreement between it and the governor, though 
not the greatest possible efficiency. Martin's relations 
with this department of the government were not very 
pleasant and harmonious. By 1772 the councillors 
had begun to see the drift of affairs in the American 
colonies, that all was tending to oppose the English 
administration, and they took sides with the colonists 
in several of their demands. 1 While the full number 
was twelve, still only a very few times did all of them 
ever meet in one council. They lived in different 
parts of the province, had many personal interests to 
look after, and received little or no allowance. 2 It 
was, therefore, most natural that they should not take 
a very great or profound interest in the government 
of the province. This part of the executive was less 
efficient than the governor. The councillors were col- 
onists and did not feel themselves to be under strict 

*C. R. III-IX, passim. 
2C. R. III-IX, passim. 


responsibility to the crown; they might be suspended 
from office for neglect, but this penalty was of little 
consequence to them. The governor on the other hand 
was the special agent of the crown and was directly 
responsible to it. He was a citizen of Great Britain, 
not a colonist. It was his duty to govern the province 
in the best possible way, and removal from office meant 
far more to him than it did to a councillor. 

As we have seen, the governor was instructed to act 
with no less than five members, unless in cases of great 
emergency, when he might allow three to constitute a 
quorum for business. l As the records indicate, a good 
many meetings were held in which only three were 
present, and the governor by force of circumstances 
was compelled to act with these. In November, 1741, 
a council met in which nine out of the twelve were 
present, 2 but this was the largest meeting between 
1731 and 1742. At the meetings between 1754 and 
1775 seven councillors were frequently present. 
Whether the number was large or small, many of the 
meetings in an executive capacity were wholly of a 
routine nature, and much business of this kind was 
disposed of without great attention or care. When 
acting in a legislative capacity the council as a rule 
showed much more vigor and intelligence, and the 
number at the meetings of this nature was larger than 
at the executive sessions. It was in service of this 
kind that the council contributed the most to the inter- 
est and welfare of the royal government. 

i C. R. Ill, 91-93. 
2 C. R. IV, 587. 


Concerning their general relations with the gover- 
nor much can be said both to their credit and discredit. 
Under Burrington the council as an executive body 
could not act in harmony with the governor. The 
meetings were frequently small and were made up 
chiefly of those councillors who held other offices— 
that of chief justice or secretary. These officers were 
selfish and looked after interests of their own and con- 
sequently came easily into conflict with the governor. 
Burrington, in a report to Secretary Newcastle, July, 
1731, stated that he had been involved in a great debate 
with three of the council— Smith, Ashe and Edmund 
Porter— over the powers of the assistant justices; that 
he had claimed that the assistant justices had some 
judicial powers independent of the chief justice, but 
that Chief Justice Smith and his two allies mentioned 
above claimed that the assistant justices were only the 
mere supporters of the chief justice. 1 With this re- 
port he sent papers in which he claimed that the said 
three councillors named above would not attend the 
meetings though duly summoned, because they did not 
agree with his opinion in regard to the powers of the 
assistant justices. 2 During September of the same 
year he wrote to the board of trade to the effect that 
some of the councillors offered more obstruction to his 
administration than did the lower house. He stated 
that when he had called a council to nominate a chief 
justice in the place of Smith, who had left the prov- 
ince, only Jenoure and Porter appeared, and that the 

i C. K. Ill, 150, 233, 236-38. 
2C. R. Ill, 168-75. 


other councillors were either out of the province or at 
Cape Fear, two hundred miles away. He further said 
that he then asked the two present about appointing 
others, so that there might be a sufficient number with 
which to hold a chancery court; that Jenoure readily 
assented to it, but that Porter would not ; * that he was 
compelled by the circumstances to swear in for the 
time two others in order to appoint a chief justice and 
hold a court of chancery. 2 But his opponents in the 
council denied that they had hindered the cause of 
good government by their demands and conduct, and 
declared that Burrington by his arbitrary and illegal 
acts had done so. 3 The evidence when analyzed shows 
that, while Burrington was arbitrary and uncomprom- 
ising, he was not to a great extent illegal or unconsti- 
tutional in his position, and that the councillors were 
certainly as much responsible as the governor for their 
failure to serve the crown. 4 

Under Johnston, both as an executive and a legis- 
lative body, the council acted in substantial agreement 
with the governor and among themselves. At several 
times during his administration they assured him that 
they would do all in their power to be in accord with 
his wishes and the crown's interests. But still this 
department of the government was by no means very 
efficient. He, in writing to the board of trade in 1740, 
stated that there were four vacancies in the council, 

i C. R. Ill, 196-97. 

2 C. R. Ill, 207-210. 

3C. R. Ill, 386-88. 

* C. R. Ill, 370-82, 429-38, 559, 625-27. 


and that two of them were due to the fact that two of 
those appointed by the crown in 1730 had never come 
to the province. 1 The board of trade in 1752 made an 
investigation concerning the council and found that 
there were then only three persons in it whom the 
crown had appointed. 2 This is one bit of evidence, 
out of very much, that the authorities in England paid 
little attention to the composition and efficiency of this 

The relations of the council with Dobbs were pleas- 
ant, but their efficiency under him was certainly not of 
a high grade. He informed the authorities in England 
that some of the councillors never attended a meeting 
unless it was held at or near their own homes, 3 and also 
that at times he could not hold an assembly because 
of a lack of a sufficient number of the council to con- 
stitute the upper house. 4 It was during his adminis- 
tration that an attempt was made by the home govern- 
ment to pay the councillors for their expenses while 
sitting in an executive or judicial capacity, but this 
attempt was apparently never successful, even under 
the later governors. 5 To avoid some abuses which had 
occurred rather frequently, Dobbs, in 1761, laid before 
the council one of his instructions from the crown, 
which forbade the governor to allow the councillors as 
a legislative body any protection other than of their 

i C. R. IV, 81, 82, 114, 231, 425. 

2C. R. IV, 1315. 

a C. R. V, 439-41. 

^ C. R. VI, 243-44. 

5C. R. V, 788; VI, 718-20; IX, 375. 


persons, and that only during the session, and also 
prohibited their adjournment otherwise than de die in 
diem excepting on Sundays and holidays. 1 

The relations between Tryon and the council were 
harmonious to a great degree. 2 He, in writing to Sec- 
retary Hillsborough in 1769, stated that the coun- 
cillors had acted well and uniformly for the crown's 
interest. 3 Martin and the council agreed upon most 
matters from 1771 to 1772, but after 1772 the council- 
lors were disposed to take sides with the people in 
their opposition to the royal prerogative which he was 
attempting to compel them to accept and abide by. In 
April, 1774, he wrote to Secretary Dartmouth that the 
conduct of the council at the last session of the legis- 
lature was opposed to his administration, that it was 
unbecoming and tended to injure the interests of the 
crown. 4 He and the councillors had some difference 
of opinion on the bill for superior courts. The gov- 
ernor thought the bill was contrary to his instructions 
and that it encroached on the king's rights, but five of 
the councillors advised him to ratify it as the best pos- 
sible measure under the circumstances. 5 He again 
wrote to Dartmouth, in May, 1775, that the conduct of 
the council had been very bad and disobedient.' 6 In 
both instances he was speaking of the council as the 
upper house. He made no complaints of the council 

i C. R. VI, C55-5G. 

2C. R. VII, 45-46, 554-55, 894; VIII, 100, 153, 290. 

3C. R. VIII, 152-53. 

*C. R. IX, 969-75. 

5C. R. IX, 975-80. 

6C. R. IX, 1242-45. 


as an executive body, and one may conclude, therefore, 
that under him it discharged its routine executive 
duties in a fairly satisfactory manner. 

The personal composition of the council was a mat- 
ter in which the home authorities and governor were 
supposed to be much interested. To have an efficient 
council it was necessary to appoint the ablest and best 
men among the colonists as councillors. In this the 
governor had a large share. It was his duty to keep a 
list of the best men and of their qualifications before 
the crown and board of trade, from which they should 
choose in case of a vacancy. Upon the whole the gov- 
ernor showed intelligence in discharging his duty; a 
good many of his recommendations and nominations 
were wise and expedient. The king and board of 
trade, in making the final choice, were in the main in- 
fluenced by what the governor had to say, though fre- 
quently they did not heed his recommendations. 

Among those who served the crown and province as 
councillors, and who are worthy of mention, were Wil- 
liam Smith, Nathaniel Eice, John Baptiste Ashe, Elie- 
zer Allen, Matthew Rowan, Cornelius Harnett, Roger 
Moore, Edward Moseley, Cullen Pollock, James Mur- 
ray, William Forbes, James Hassell, James Innes, 
John Rutherford, John Swann, James Craven, Lewis 
DeRossett, Richard Spaight, H. E. McCulloh, Alexan- 
der McCulloh, Charles Berry, B. Heron, Marmaduke 
Jones and Thomas McGuire. 1 These were men of in- 
fluence and ability. They lived in different parts of 

C. R. Ill, 91, 209; IV, 1, 3, 31, 445, 1315; V, 817; VI, 559; VII, 
137; IX, 52, 1207; State Records I, 126, 146-47. 


the province and knew the conditions of their several 
localities. They understood the position of the crown, 
as they were its agents, and likewise the standpoint of 
the colonists among whom they lived. 

The council, though it was not a very efficient body 
in its executive capacity, still in the main contributed 
much to the good government of the province. It was 
in the main a body composed of men of ability, intelli= 
gence and honesty. It exercised a beneficent restraint 
upon the lower house of the legislature, prevented the 
governor from making many mistakes, and brought 
respect and dignity to the royal government. 


The Lower House of the Legislature Under the 


The position of the executive— the governor and the 
council— has already been considered, and their pow- 
ers, duties and acts discussed. The functions of the 
council as the upper house of the legislature have like- 
wise been under consideration. It now remains to 
consider the other branch of the legislature— the lower 
house. This, like the governor and the council, was 
in existence when North Carolina became a royal prov- 
ince. It was provided for in the charters of 1663 and 
1665, which the crown gave to the proprietors, and 
they by their instructions to their governors gave 
orders as to its qualifications and workings. When 
the province became royal the lower house was pro- 
vided for in the commissions and instructions from the 
crown to the royal governors. The crown was now 
the direct and immediate source of the provincial laws, 
but it, like the proprietors, delegated many of the law- 
making powers to the general assembly, of which the 
lower house was an important part. 

The organization and privileges of this body were 
denned, to a large extent, by the instructions to the gov- 
ernor; many of its privileges came at the will of the 
crown and, therefore, did not belong to it inherently or 



from proprietary grants, as it was at times strongly 
disposed to claim. The fact, however, that this body 
had been in legal and actual existence for more than 
fifty years entitled it to some privileges independent 
of the crown. But still the crown gave it few privi- 
leges of a positive nature, most of the instructions per- 
taining to the lower house being of the nature of pro- 
hibitions. The governor was ordered to see that the 
members of this branch of the legislature were chosen 
by the freeholders only, and he was forbidden to allow 
them any protection other than of their persons dur- 
ing the session, or to allow them to adjourn without 
his leave otherwise than de die in diem, except on Sun- 
days and holidays. He was instructed to see that the 
council had like powers with the lower house in fram- 
ing money bills, and that all enacting clauses should be 
in the name of the governor, council and lower house. 
In short, he could not allow the assembly any rights or 
privileges which custom had not permitted to the house 
of commons in England. 1 

He was also instructed not to allow any act or ordi- 
nance for levying money, imposing fines and penalties, 
unless with a clause which expressly stated that they 
were for the crown and the benefit of the province ; and 
he could permit no act by which the crown's revenue 
might be lessened or impaired without royal permis- 
sion. He was ordered to see that all laws for the sup- 
port of the government were for an unlimited time, 
excepting those for purely temporary purposes. He 
could not assent to acts of an extraordinary nature, 

iC. R. Ill, 93-94. 


whereby the royal prerogative, the property of Eng- 
lish subjects and the trade of Great Britain, might be 
affected, until he had transmitted draughts of the same 
to the crown and received the royal approval, unless 
the said acts contained clauses suspending their execu- 
tion until the crown's pleasure was known; nor could 
he assent to laws for a shorter time than two years, 
except those imposing taxes on wines and liquors, and 
these must be of at least twelve months' duration. He 
was not permitted to reenact any laws which had been 
disallowed by the crown, unless with its special leave, 
nor could he assent to any act which repealed any law 
then in force unless it contained a clause suspending 
its execution until the authorities in England passed 
upon it. He was also ordered not to assent to any 
private act whereby the property of any person would 
be effected, in which there was no clause saving the 
rights of the crown, those of all bodies politic and cor- 
porate, and of all other persons not mentioned in the 
act. 1 

The lower house during the whole of the royal period 
claimed that it had some rights, inherent in its own 
nature and derived from the proprietors, which the 
crown must allow. By an act of 1715-1716 it had 
ordered that assemblies should be held biennially in 
spite of what the proprietors desired. This act also 
regulated the elections, the qualifications of the voters 
and of the representatives. Whether the proprietors 
accepted this act or not, and this is a debated question, 
is of little importance in this connection ; the colonists 

iC. R. Ill, 93-96, 496-98; V, 1103-44; VII, 137-42; VIII, 512-16. 


exercised the rights and claimed the privileges of it 
from 1716 to 1731. Burrington in 1731 advised the 
crown to repeal it for the reason that it was contrary 
to the principles laid down in his instructions from the 
crown; and apparently it was repealed by the crown, 
though at what time is not known. The fact that Bur- 
rington in 1731 was ordered by the king to hold elec- 
tions according to the principles of his instructions is 
evidence that the crown then meant that the act of 
1715-1716 was no longer binding. Still an act was 
passed by the assembly, assented to by Johnston and 
allowed by the crown in 1734, repealing a clause in the 
said act of 1715-1716, and in 1743 an act was passed 
and agreed to which repealed the act of 1734. These 
two acts of 1734 and 1743 are good evidence that the 
lower house under the crown did exercise some rights 
in regulating its privileges, even independently of the 
crown, as the act of 1743 regulated the elections of the 
members of the lower house and defined the qualifica- 
tions of the members and of the electors. This act 
was in operation in 1752. In 1760 another act was 
assented to by the chief executive and allowed by the 
crown to substantially the same effect, and this was 
in operation in 1765. 1 

One of the privileges which the lower house claimed 
was that of determining the suffrage. As to what this 
was during the whole royal period we can not say with 
great accuracy. The royal government began with the 
principle of freehold suffrage, and this appears to have 
been the case during the larger part, if not all, of the 

iSwann, 79; Davis, 1705, II, 198-201; C. R. Ill, 180-81. 


period. 1 The records would indicate that the assem- 
bly, while it passed certain acts defining the qualifica- 
tions of voters, did so for the most part according to 
the instructions from the crown, which insisted upon 
freehold suffrage. To be a freeholder in North Caro- 
lina, however, was not very difficult, and consequently 
suffrage was not greatly limited. The lower house 
also claimed the privilege of making inquiries into 
the election returns of its own members. 2 At an 
assembly in July, 1733, several representatives ap- 
peared from the new precincts of Onslow, Bladen and 
Edgecombe, but the lower house refused to admit them 
until it had made an investigation as to whether these 
precincts had the legal right to send representatives. 
A conference was held between the two houses on this 
matter, and it was agreed that the precincts could send 
members to the next session of the assembly. 3 The 
lower house also declared that the governor and coun- 
cil alone did not have the right of erecting new pre- 
cincts, that they must be erected by the consent of the 
lower house as well. On this ground it had refused 
to admit the representatives from the above named 
precincts, which had been erected by the governor and 
council without the consent of itself. 4 

The question of the number of representatives from 
each precinct or county was of great importance and 
at times brought on much discussion. The first lower 

iC. R. Ill, 93, 497; V, 1110-11; VII, 137-42; VIII, 512-10. 

2 C. R. Ill, 288-89. 

3C. R. Ill, 581-83. 

*C. R. Ill, 575-76. 


house under Burrington had representatives as fol- 
lows: five each from Chowan, Perquimans, Pasquo- 
tank, Bertie; four from Currituck; two each from 
Beaufort, Hyde, Craven, Carteret; one each from the 
towns of Edenton, Newbern, Bath. 1 There was never 
any discussion about the right of each town, which had 
a certain population, to send one delegate to the assem- 
bly. But there was a long struggle between the young 
counties, which could send only two, and the older 
counties, which had the privilege of five representa- 
tives. The older counties were in the Albemarle or 
northeastern section. The people of this section were 
in much better circumstances than those in the south- 
ern or western counties ; they had different social, eco- 
nomic and political ideas. To give the counties of the 
northeast five representatives each, while all the other 
counties had only two each, gave the control in mat- 
ters of legislation to the more wealthy and aristocratic 
class. From one point of view this was an injustice, 
but it must be remembered that the older counties had 
a larger population and many more vested interests 
than the new counties. Governor Johnston, urged on 
by what he thought to be a great injustice, and by the 
fact that he could not control the representatives from 
Albemarle as easily as he desired, made several at- 
tempts to do away with this unequal representation in 
the lower house. His earlier attempts failed because 
of the control which the large representation gave to 
the older counties. He desired to bring about a sys- 
tem of equal representation from each county, whether 

i C. R. Ill, 285. 


old or new, large or small. But this was impossible in 

an assembly in which the Albemarle counties had a 
large majority. He, being convinced that the only way 
to accomplish his object was by moving the provincial 
capital to the extreme southern part of the province, 
called an assembly to meet in the town of Wilmington 
in 1746. To this assembly the representatives of the 
northeastern counties would not go, as Wilmington 
was more than two hundred miles away and almost a 
wilderness separated it from Albemarle. By this as- 
sembly, which really represented only the southern 
and southwestern counties, an act was passed which 
provided for two representatives from each county and 
one from each town. This act also provided that eight 
members could adjourn de die in diem until as many 
as fourteen and the speaker, who could constitute a 
quorum, arrived. This provision was necessary to 
carry out the idea of equal representation. 1 The act 
of 1746 was in operation until 1754, when the crown 
repealed it. 2 From 1746 to 1754 the counties of the 
northeast had no representation in the lower house, 
as they would not send any delegation smaller than 
their customary number— five. But from 1754 to 1775 
the representation was unequal as it had been previous 

to 1746. 3 

Governor Dobbs was instructed, in 1754, to erect 
towns and counties in the southern and western part 
of the province whenever he and the council deemed it 

i Swann, 223-24. 

2C. R. V, 1110-11. 

3C. R. V, 231-32; VI-IX, passim. 


fit. He was to do this, not by an act of the assembly, 
but by charters of incorporation which gave the said 
towns and counties the privilege of sending representa- 
tives to the lower house. l This right of the governor 
was denied by many of the colonists, and it appears 
that Dobbs was not able to carry out fully his inten- 
tions concerning this, at least for some time after his 
administration began. In March, 1759, it was ordered 
by the council that the governor issue a proclamation 
to the effect that, upon the dissolution of the assembly 
then elected, no writs of election could be issued to sev- 
eral counties and towns unless they took out charters 
of incorporation from the governor. 2 This would in- 
dicate that several towns and counties had been send- 
ing representatives without receiving the right to do 
so from the governor. But still Dobbs had exercised 
his right of granting charters of incorporation in 1757. 3 
After 1759 the right of representation apparently de- 
pended upon the charters of incorporation issued by 
the governor; the colonists gave up their claims in the 
matter. 4 

The lower house was elected according to writs from 
the governor, and the members must take from him the 
oaths of allegiance and supremacy to the crown. 5 He 
prorogued and dissolved it whenever he and the coun- 
cil saw fit, and this was done very frequently. In his 

'C. R. V, 1111. 
2 C. R. VI, 77. 
3C. R. V, 767-68. 
' * C. R. VIII, 251, 543. 
«C. R. Ill, 66-73. 


opening speeches at the beginning of each session he 
outlined his policy to the representatives, spoke of 
their rights and duties, and made his requests. He 
allowed them to choose their own speaker and clerk, 
to keep their journals, to originate, discuss and amend 
bills, but the final rejection of a bill was in the power 
of the council and himself. By virtue of the fact that 
the lower house had control of the supplies, it com- 
pelled the governor not infrequently to assent to its 
demands, and in so doing it exercised a very consider- 
able influence over him and his administration. While 
he and the council could reject any bill which the lower 
house passed, still they could never pass any act un- 
less the lower house gave its assent. This gave it the 
power of forcing the governor and council to allow it 
to have and to exercise a good many general and spe- 
cial privileges, to which it was not entitled by written 

Such were the privileges of the lower house. It 
also had certain specified powers, some of which the 
crown gave by voluntary grant, while others came to 
it by custom or by assumption. Along with the pow- 
ers were their correlative duties. The lower house 
had and exercised considerable powers in regulating 
the territorial system, especially in excusing the col- 
onists from the penalties of non-compliance with the 
regulations. The governor and council had control of 
the greater part of the administration of this system, 
but the lower house had at least its share in the pass- 
ing of the territorial laws, which the chief executive 
was instructed to secure. During the royal period 


seventeen acts concerning land were passed by the 
assembly and agreed to by the governor and crown. 
These acts were concerning the proper settlement and 
cultivation, enrolling and registering, titles, rent-rolls 
and quit-rents, and the relief of those who failed to 
comply with the laws and regulations. 1 The crown 
gave directions to the governor in regard to some of 
the general regulations of the system, but it was left 
to the governor and assembly to work out all the de- 
tails of the administration. A careful analysis of 
these details as shown in the laws furnishes much evi- 
dence that the lower house had more than its constitu- 
tional share, certainly so in view of the interpretation 
which the crown officers placed upon this constitution. 
Not only did it take a leading part in passing the acts, 
but it also made many complaints to the governor about 
the granting of lands at high rents, about the incon- 
venience of the places where rents were paid and about 
the dishonesty of the collectors. In fact its members 
exercised a general supervision over the administra- 
tion of the whole system, 2 a right which the crown had 
reserved for the governor and the council. They went 
so far as to maintain that all lands should be granted 
to the colonists at the very low rates as specified in the 
grant of 1668, which they were fond of calling the 
"original deed." 3 

With the general administration of the province the 

iSwann, 85, 90, 138, 155, 275, 285, 329; Davis, 1765, II, 35, 70, 82, 
211, 331; Davis, 1773, 344, 464, 491, 560, 562. 
2 C. R. IIMX, passim. 
3C. R. Ill, 289-93. 


lower house had much to do. It acted jointly with the 
upper house in inspecting and settling all public claims 
and accounts. It ordered the public treasurers to lay 
all their accounts before it and often appointed and 
controlled them, attempted to ascertain and regulate 
the fees of all officers, in what they should be paid and 
at what rates, complained of the bad conduct of officers 
and of the lack of courts, made addresses to the gov- 
ernor and crown concerning the laws, currency, trade, 
lands, rents and tenants of the province, and appointed 
and controlled for the most part an agent who resided 
in England. The governor in his opening speeches 
encouraged much of this and asked the representatives 
to promote the welfare of the province by establishing 
a good system of trade, religion and education. 1 This 
request of the governor gave them a legal right to look 
after the general administration in several matters; 
other rights they assumed as belonging to themselves 
by virtue of the fact that they were the representatives 
of the people who were governed and who paid the 
taxes. The chief among these rights were the appoint- 
ment and control of the treasurers. The governor was 
much opposed to this claim and declared that the lower 
house in making it was assuming to regulate the execu- 
tive and was, therefore, taking away from him his con- 
stitutional rights. 2 But in spite of the protest on the 
part of the executive, the lower house in the main 
appointed and controlled the treasurers. 

The lower house had its share in passing the acts 

iC. R. Ill, 269, 277, 291, 294, 542; IV-IX, passim. 
2C. R. VI, 1253. 


for the militia and defence. In the eight militia acts 
passed by the assembly and allowed by the crown the 
interests of the colonists were considered as much, if 
not more than, those of the crown. The governor 
urged that some of them be enacted and suggested 
changes in others. The acts also show the influence 
of the lower house. The general form of these laws 
was in conformity with the English models, but in the 
details there was much that was distinctly provincial 
and of the North Carolina type. 1 It was the lower 
house especially to which the governor applied for sol- 
diers, arms, supplies and forts, either for defensive or 
offensive war. This was done in 1740, and the lower 
house readily granted Johnston a considerable number 
of soldiers and all the supplies required for them, 
though these were to aid England in carrying on an of- 
fensive war against the Spanish West Indies. 2 From 
1754 to 1762 the governor had to make many requests 
for troops and money with which to defend the prov- 
ince and to aid its neighbors, and as a rule the assem- 
bly complied with his requests. By 1760 it had 
granted a considerable number of soldiers and about 
80,000 pounds to the common cause of the colonies, 3 
and it continued to grant aid, though not large, until 
the war was ended and all danger was removed. 4 The 
lower house also took a prominent part in suppressing 
the insurrection of the " regulators' ' in 1768-1771. 5 

1 Law Revisals, passim. 

2C. R. IV, 550-55. 

3C. R. VI, 476-78. 

*C. R. VI, 803, 808-10, 831, 1090; VII, 552. 

SO. R. VII, 926-27; VIII, 333, 385. 


"While the governor was given full military powers and 
could, therefore, theoretically exercise them without 
consulting the legislature, still he could in reality do 
nothing without the sympathy and aid of this depart- 
ment of the government. He must have soldiers and 
money, and in order to secure these he had to give 
up many of his powers to the lower house which alone 
could really grant them. So that the lower house, 
while in theory it had few military powers, exercised 
great influence over military affairs. 

In judicial matters this body exercised considerable 
powers. It made resolves about the proper or im- 
proper way of administering justice, and with the up- 
per house it decided on jurymen for the counties; it 
might and did at times request the governor to pardon 
those guilty of violating the laws of the province. It 
also had its part in passing the acts which erected 
courts. And in most of the bills erecting courts the 
lower house attempted to insert clauses dealing with 
the qualifications and time of service of the judges, the 
amount and extent of the jurisdiction of the different 
courts, and foreign attachments, all of which clauses 
were considered by the crown as assumptions on the 
part of the lower house, contrary to English custom 
and law. 1 These claims the executive for the most 
part opposed, inasmuch as they were contrary to the 
principles of his instructions, and the crown stood by 
its governor in this. Neither would the lower house 
give up its claims, and, therefore, no compromise was 
ever reached. 

iC. R. Ill, 587-90, 603-40; IV, 515-25, 488; VI, 802-04; IX, 1G9, 



And, lastly, the lower house had a large part in the 
passing of acts for the government of the province. 
However, in this, as in all its other powers, there were 
many limitations npon the lower house. The fact 
that the governor and council had the power to call for 
a new election, adjourn, prorogue and dissolve the 
lower house, is evidence of how subordinate was the 
theoretical position of this body in law-making. But 
when once called it had about one third of the law- 
making powers within its control. All bills had to be 
passed through three readings and receive a majority 
vote in each house before the governor could assent to 
them. While the upper house always had the right to 
order a bill engrossed by the lower house, or to reject 
any bill to which it could not assent, still the lower 
house had in reality the same right. The governor had 
full power of assenting to or rejecting the bills passed 
by both houses, and also of proroguing or dissolving 
the assembly when he thought it was going too far in 
its discussions and claims. 1 

The lower house, however, in actual practice had far 
more than its theoretical powers. The governor and 
the upper house frequently were compelled by circum- 
stances to allow it certain powers and the passage of 
certain acts, which were really contrary to English cus- 
toms and the governor's instructions, in order to 
secure any bill at all for the government or any money 
for the expenses thereof in time of peace or war. A 
careful study of the laws passed during the royal pe- 
riod and of the method of their passage reveals the 

1 C. R. III-IX, passim ; Law Revisals, passim. 


great power which the lower house at many times had. 
In many different ways it compelled the upper house 
and the governor to assent to its bills, though against 
royal instructions. It represented the people who paid 
the money and fought the battles of the royal govern- 
ment, and as such had very great powers. 1 

Concerning the efficiency of the lower house during 
the whole period of royal government few accurate 
statements can be made. Under Burrington no bills 
became laws. Who was to blame it is difficult to say 
with exactness. The evidence, as far as it exists, shows 
that both the governor and the lower house were ex- 
treme and uncompromising in their demands. 2 For the 
most part the lower house was obedient to the requests 
of Johnston, and many bills were agreed to by him. 3 
With Dobbs it was on good terms until 1760, when his 
continued, though necessary, requests for soldiers and 
money caused it to find fault with his administration 
and to refuse his requests. 4 Try on, by his diplomatic 
ways, had no difficulty with the representatives and 
secured their sympathy and aid in almost all of his 
undertakings. 5 Martin had to meet them at a very 
critical time. The fiscal and judicial problems had 

1 C. R. III-IX, passim ; Law Revisals, passim. 

2 C. R. Ill, 257-325, 541, 549-52, 636-38. 

3C. R. IV, 77-79, 83-85, 243, 380-414, 418, 549-51, 771-72, 777-78, 
834-38, 863-67. 

4 C. R. V, 309-10, 558-59, 734-36, 924, 1010-11; VI, 99, 138-40, 
369-72, 425, 467-69, 511, 695, 811, 835-37, 1024, 1036. 

5 C. R. VII, 43, 60-61, 63-64, 291-92, 347-49, 355-56, 421, 423, 550, 
552, 569-70, 624, 668-70; VIII, 104-05, 140-41, 284-86, 311-13, 383- 
84, 477-79, 492-94. 


now become very grave. He was a prerogative gov- 
ernor and they a democratic house. The natural con- 
sequences were that they could not agree. 1 

The acts of the legislature and the part which the 
lower house took in their passage give very abundant 
evidence of the honesty and sincerity of the represen- 
tatives of the people. To be sure they took extreme 
positions at times, as against the governor and coun- 
cil; they laid claims to privileges and rights to which 
they were not constitutionally entitled; they followed 
an unsound and unjust fiscal policy, but this was more 
a question of judgment than of intention. With it all 
they did many things for the support and welfare of 
the royal government in the province, and were loyal 
subjects of the king. They watched the interests of 
the colonists and defended them against what they 
deemed to be encroachments on the part of the royal 
officials, and this they had the inherent right to do. 
The lower house had among its members several men 
of fine intelligence and ability. While as a whole body 
it was not so distinguished for ability as the council, 
still in devotion to what they believed to be their duty 
they were excelled by none. 

iC. R. IX, 101, 221-22, 346, 373-74, 442-45, 476-77, 583-87, 707- 
09, 737-43, 787-88, 790-91, 874-76, 879-80, 927-28, 945-46, 955, 
1188-95, 1205. 


The Teeeitobial System and Administeation. 

The more formal powers and duties of the executive 
and legislature, and how they were in a general way 
executed and discharged, have been under considera- 
tion. It remains to consider in their practical work- 
ings the policies and acts of the executive and the 
crown, of the legislature and the colonists, upon ques- 
tions arising from land, money, justice and defence. 

The territorial system under any form of govern- 
ment is of fundamental importance, especially so in a 
pioneer community. In North Carolina, whether under 
the proprietors or the crown, the system and the policy 
concerning land determined to a very considerable ex- 
tent the economic, social and political life of the colon- 
ists. The colonial history of North Carolina was very 
different in many respects from that of Virginia or 
South Carolina, her neighbors, not so much because 
her people were so different, as in reality they were 
not, but chiefly because of the different policies con- 
cerning land and the methods of granting it. Had the 
crown exercised the chief control in the government of 
the two Carolinas from their settlement, as it did in 
Virginia from 1624, it is probable that these three 
provinces would have had substantially the same ter- 
ritorial system and policy. However, while the Caro- 



linas were under the same patentees, and these were 
guided by the principles of their charters from the 
crown, still they had two distinct policies in regard to 
the territorial administration, though only one general 

While this study is concerned chiefly with the royal 
period, still it is absolutely necessary to consider, 
briefly at least, the system and its effects under the 
proprietors. When, in 1729, the crown by purchase 
from the patentees became the owner of seven-eighths 
of the whole Carolina grant, it introduced few changes 
in the system then established. The chief difference 
was in its administration ; the crown attempted to make 
it much more efficient than it had previously been. All 
the grants made by the proprietors were declared by 
the crown to be valid, and most of the laws concerning 
land which were in force prior to 1729 were allowed 
to be reenacted with slight changes or to continue in 
operation without any changes whatever. The prin- 
ciples of the charters to the proprietors were still re- 
garded as the legal basis of land-holding. 

The proprietors had many powers over their land, 
but all of these came to them from their charters. 
They formulated the system in its details and provided 
for its execution, but in accord with the general prin- 
ciples as laid down by the crown. By their charters 
the patentees became feudal seigniors, having control 
of both the land and the government, under certain 
conditions and limitations. But they held their lands 
from the crown in free and common socage tenure, not 
by knight's service, paying a merely nominal rent— one- 


fourth of the gold and silver mined and twenty marks 
yearly. 1 This merely nominal rent, however, was a full 
recognition of the fact that the crown still remained 
the ultimate owner of the lands. Though feudal seig- 
niors, they were not placed under all of the restric- 
tions laid upon such persons during the later feudal 
times in England. The principle of quia emptor es, 
as established for England by 18 Edward I., which 
forbade subinfeudation, was not to apply to the Caro- 
linas. This gave the patentees the authority to estab- 
lish a system of feudal tenants in their province. The 
proprietors, their heirs and assigns, could assign, 
grant or demise their lands to any person whatsoever ; 
and this could be done by a title in fee simple, fee tail 
or for years. They also had the power of determin- 
ing upon the rents of such lands, as they deemed best. 2 
The tenants of the patentees, however, were also under 
the control of the crown in many particulars ; they were 
always to be subjects of the crown, and were also en- 
titled to the same civil and property rights as English- 
men. 3 

Being thus empowered, the proprietors announced 
to those who would become colonists the conditions 
under which they could have and hold land. The first 
statement of these conditions was made during 1663 in 
a document entitled "the declaration and proposals." 
By this they offered to issue grants under the free and 

i C. R. I, 104. 
2C. R. I, 28-29. 
3C. R. I, 106-07. 
* C. R. I, 43-46. 


common socage tenure, to the grantee and his heirs 
forever. With the view of encouraging a rapid settle- 
ment, they offered special inducements to large famil- 
ies. These lands were not sold, but leased forever, as 
it were. At first there was no cash payment upon tak- 
ing up lands; the proprietors were paid in the shape 
of an annual quit-rent. This system of quit-rents was 
established at once after the patentees obtained their 
charters, 1 and by means of it they retained the ulti- 
mate control of all their lands. It was of decided 
advantage to poor colonists ; they could become colon- 
ists and take up lands without advancing any money. 
One half-penny per acre was the amount established 
by the proprietors as the quit-rent, and from three to 
five years were allowed for its payment. However, 
lands were granted during 1663 at a lower rate than 
this, only one farthing per acre being called for; 2 and 
this very low rate, being chiefly to attract a large num- 
ber of colonists, was approved by the patentees in their 
second document of conditions according to which 
lands were to be granted, that of 1665, and again in 
their "original deed" of 1668. 3 

Beginning with 1667, many of the powers and duties 
pertaining to lands were transferred by the patentees 
to the provincial officers. The assembly, of which the 
governor was a part, was now to prescribe the quan- 
tity of land to be granted to any one person, and like- 
wise to make the rules for the administration of the 

iC. R. I, 4G, 51-52. 

2C. R. I, 51-52, 55, 59-07. 

3C. R. I, 88, 89, 92, 175-7G, 181-83. 


land office. Such a transfer of powers, however, was 
by no means final, and was also subject to many limi- 
tations; while the assembly had a part to perform in 
the territorial policy and administration, still this was 
done in the main according to specific instructions from 
the patentees. Nevertheless, the assembly enacted 
several laws concerning land, and most of these were 
approved by the proprietors. 1 In 1669 three such acts 
were passed, and they were confirmed by the patentees 
during the next year. One of these determined the 
size of the grant to any one person, and thereby 
modified the provisions of the "fundamental constitu- 
tions ' ' concerning land, which the patentees issued dur- 
ing the same year. The constitutions looked toward 
making very large grants, while the said act of the 
assembly allowed only six hundred and sixty acres to 
any one colonist. Another act provided for a speedy 
settlement of the grants; and a third required that a 
person should be an inhabitant of the province for at 
least two years before he could dispose by sale of his 
rights to lands. 2 The fact that these three acts were 
passed by the assembly and confirmed by the proprie- 
tors is strong evidence that both parties now desired 
to establish in North Carolina a system of small hold- 
ings. The patentees, however, had a different system 
in their minds, which was to be put in operation some 
time in the future. 3 

In 1679 the proprietors began to make changes in 

i G. R. I, 1G9, 175-76, 181-83. 
2C. R. I, 184-86. 
»C. R. I, 187-206. 


the system. Quit-rents were raised from one half- 
penny to one penny per acre ; and lands were to be set- 
tled within one year in the place of three as at first- 
required. These changes, of course, did not affect the 
grants already made and not forfeited. 1 Further 
changes were made in 1694. Now the governor and 
at least three deputies of the proprietors, advising to- 
gether, could sell lands in fee, demanding as high a 
purchase price as they saw fit, with the one limitation 
that no lands could be sold for less than ten pounds 
per one thousand acres. This sale was not a wholly 
unqualified one, as five shillings per one thousand acres 
should be reserved as the annual rent. 2 This was the 
beginning of a new system — a combination of the pur- 
chase and the lease systems. By means of this change 
the patentees received more money at the time of the 
sale and less in the shape of annual quit-rents, and 
apparently it was kept up during the remaining years 
of the proprietary government. 8 

From the years 1712-1713 the assembly had much 
more to do with the system and its administration than 
it had previously had. The proprietors now began to 
entrust more and more to the provincial officers, and 
sent out few specific instructions in regard to land, as 
well as other matters. In 1713 the provincial officers 
and the legislature began to take a much more active 
and intelligent interest in their political and economic 
affairs. They now by an act regulated with, more care 

i C. R. I, 59-67, 237-38. 

*C. R. I, 390-92; IV, 308-15. 

3 C. R. I, 556, 696, 707, 846; IV, 308-15. 


the conditions of purchasing lands, also provided that 
titles to lands already purchased should no longer he 
of force unless the purchase money was paid within 
three months after the passage of this act. 1 The fail- 
ure to pay this purchase money had been very common, 
and was, therefore, very annoying to the proprietors 
and their officers in the province. Again, during 1715- 
1716, the assembly legislated upon territorial matters; 
it now made a revisal of all the laws concerning land 
which had previously been in force and which it now 
desired should continue in operation, with greater or 
less modification. This revisal contained unchanged 
two of the acts of 1669-1670, on the transfer of rights 
and on the speedy settlement, and many other regula- 
tions. The assembly declared valid all former grants 
and enacted that seven years quiet possession under the 
color of a claim gave a good title; it also determined 
upon the conditions and methods of escheat, regulated 
the abuses in the taking up and the surveying of lands, 
and defined the limits of time in which the purchase 
money should be paid. Not only were these provi- 
sions passed by the assembly and confirmed by the 
patentees, but they were also allowed to continue in 
force far into the royal period. 2 This revisal, to an ex- 
tent of new provisions, but to a larger extent of old 
ones reenacted, supplemented by an act concerning 
titles to lands passed during 1723,' 3 was the legal basis 
of granting, holding and administering the lands dur- 

iC. R. II, 173. 

2C. R. I, 184, 186; MS. Laws; Swann, 7-13. 

3 Swann, 54. 


ing the later years of the proprietary period and to a 
considerable extent throughout the period of the royal 

The proprietors had a fairly definite method of 
granting, surveying and registering lands. However, 
in as much as this was not very different from that 
under the crown, nothing will be said of it in this con- 
nection except to the effect that more abuses occurred 
in its administration under the patentees than under 
the royal officials. As to the size of the grants made 
by the proprietors there was much uniformity; they 
were for the most part small. The largest amount 
granted to any one person was as a rule six hundred 
and forty acres, but one who had a large family of 
servants might obtain as much as seventeen hundred 
acres. The patentees from the very first insisted upon 
small holdings for the northern settlement, at least un- 
til they could establish a system of feudal lords upon 
its lands. In 1670 the assembly enacted a law, which 
they accepted, to the effect that six hundred and sixty 
acres should be the largest grant issued to any one 
person unless he were one of the proprietors, a land- 
grave or a cassique. However, by the proprietors' 
expressed permission much larger grants might be is- 
sued. 2 But early in the eighteenth century the policy 
of small grants became quite well defined. In 1702 
instructions were sent by the patentees to the governor 
to the effect that no grants could be of more than six 
hundred acres; and from 1712 to the end of their ad- 

iC. R. I, 52, 72, 73, 1G5-75, 845-46; II, passim. 
2C. R. I, 18C. 


ministration the proprietors instructed to the effect that 
all grants be limited to six hundred and forty acres. 1 

While the policy of making small grants was the 
usual one, still there were exceptions to it. Prior to 
1670 a few grants were made with as many as eight 
hundred acres, and between 1711 and 1729 there are 
records of grants containing as many as five or ten 
thousand acres. But these large grants were very ex- 
ceptional ; six hundred and forty acres were the largest 
amount with the fewest exceptions from 1693 to 1729. 2 
The policy of the proprietors toward North Carolina 
was in this particular very different from that of South 
Carolina; as a rule they issued small grants for the 
one, but quite large ones for the other. One of the 
results of such a policy was that the northern province 
became settled by many small and poor farmers, while 
the southern became the home of great holdings and 
of aristocratic ideas. Virginia was also the home of 
great plantations, and in this respect was unlike her 
neighbor to the south. 

After experimenting with their province for more 
than fifty years, the patentees were willing and even 
anxious to surrender the powers and responsibilities of 
government and to sell the larger part of their lands. 
Their attempts at government, as we have seen, had 
been unsuccessful, and the profits from their invest- 
ment had been very small. As early as 1719 the colo- 
nists of the southern province had overthrown their 
administration and accepted that of the crown. While 

iC. R. I, 55G, 846; II, 457. 

2 MS. Records of the Land Office. 


those of the northern province gave no signs of such 
action, still the patentees were not sure of their future 
developments; they were ready to sell to the crown, 
at least the larger part of their lands, and the crown, 
as we have already seen, was desirous of obtaining a 
more complete control over the Carolinas. 1 On or be- 
fore July 11, 1728, negotiations for such a transfer 
were concluded. The purchase price for the whole 
grant was 25,000 pounds, 5,000 of which were for the 
arrears of quit-rents still due the patentees. 2 How- 
ever, this was not the end of the matter; an act was 
passed by Parliament on or before June 1, 1729, which 
completed the purchase. By this act only seven- 
eighths of the original grant were surrendered to the 
crown, Lord Carteret, afterwards Earl of Granville, 
retaining one-eighth ; and the price was 17,500 pounds 
for the lands thus surrendered and 5,000 for the ar- 
rears of quit-rents due upon the whole grant. 3 The 
crown now had entire control of the government, and 
also was the owner of seven-eighths of the lands. 

As has been stated, this transfer did not effect many 
changes in the territorial system, policy or adminis- 
tration. All legal grants made by the proprietors were 
confirmed by the crown, and their terms and conditions 
were left unchanged. The crown also allowed the 
same machinery of administration to continue in oper- 
ation ; the changes which were made were in the spirit 
and policy rather than in the form. 

i C. R. Ill, 6, 7, 10-12, 32-47. 
2C. R. Ill, 6, 12; II, 769-70. 
3 C. R. Ill, 32-47. 


Nothing was done toward laying off and bounding 
Carteret's share until 1743. During this year commis- 
sioners were appointed by the provincial officers, act- 
ing upon instructions from the crown, for the purpose 
of surveying and establishing the bounds of his por- 
tion. This portion, which was to be one-eighth of the 
whole of the original grant to the patentees, was lo- 
cated in one tract in the northern part of North Caro- 
lina. Of this tract the king in council made a for- 
mal grant to Carteret, September, 1744, in accordance 
with the provisions of the act of Parliament of 1729; 
and Carteret now executed a formal surrender of all 
his claims to the remaining portion. The formal grant 
of the king established as the boundaries of Carteret's 
lands the Virginia line on the north and latitude 35° 
34' on the south. Over these lands Carteret was to be 
a feudal seignior of the crown, paying to it one-fourth 
of all the gold and silver mined upon his lands and a 
merely nominal yearly rent, of less than two pounds. 
In consequence of such a grant Carteret bore substan- 
tially the same relations to the crown as the original 
lords proprietors had done. 1 

This line of 35° 34' divided North Carolina into two 
almost equal parts; the original tract granted to the 
proprietors was far larger than the portion now em- 
braced in the two Carolinas. Not only was Carteret's 
part almost one-half of the province, but it was de- 
cidedly the better half, being much older and more 
thickly settled. He was to receive all of the territorial 
revenue arising from his portion, quit-rents from the 

!C. R. IV, 639, 655-63, 810-11; State Records I, 80-101. 


lands already granted, and purchase money as well 
as quit-rents from those to be granted; at the lowest 
estimate he would receive at least one half of the 
quit-rents of the whole province. This, of course, 
greatly diminished the crown's revenues in North 
Carolina. The salaries of the crown officials must now 
come from the quit-rents and purchase money obtained 
from only one half of the province. 

For his own lands Carteret put into operation a 
territorial system, over which the crown had no con- 
trol, 1 and this system was in form and policy much 
like that which the original patentees had established. 2 
He was at its head ; he appointed its agents, prescribed 
its rules and dictated its policy. That he was far 
sighted in the selection of his agents there is little evi- 
dence; that they did many illegal and fraudulent acts 
there is an abundance of proof. 3 However, for the 
first ten years his system worked without much fric- 
tion. But from 1755 to 1760 there was much confu- 
sion and even a very considerable amount of distur- 
bance. These became important enough for the lower 
house of the legislature to take them under considera- 
tion; in 1755, after making some investigation into 
them, it made complaints against the illegal acts of his 
agents. While many of the charges made against his 
agents were doubtless exaggerated and even false, still 
apparently many of them were substantially true. 
But to the complaints of the assembly Carteret, now 

iC. R. V, 1106, 1134. 

2 Granville MS. Warrants, Indentures, Surveys. 

3C. R. V-VIII, passim. 


Earl of Granville, paid little heed, as he was not at all 
responsible to it. So many and strong were the com- 
plaints concerning the administration of his land office, 
that in 1758 a joint committee was appointed by llio 
two houses of the legislature with full powers to make 
a thorough-going investigation. The investigation gave 
an abundance of evidence to the effect that the office 
was in a very deplorable condition and that his agents, 
Francis Corbin and Joshua Bodley, were both ineffi- 
cient and dishonest. This was, however, the end of the 
matter. The legislature did nothing but make com- 
plaints and investigations ; it had no power to do any- 
thing in the way of reforming the abuses. 1 

When the legislature, being powerless, failed to bring 
about reforms, the colonists in places assumed them- 
selves the right of bringing relief to the deplorable 
state of affairs. Early in 1759 some of the people 
of Edgecombe County became riotous, seized Corbin, 
one of Granville's agents, placed him under heavy 
security to appear at the next court and render a full 
account of his official acts, especially of the fees which 
he had collected. Granville, either influenced by the 
complaints of the legislature or by this action on the 
part of the colonists, took steps toward bringing about 
reforms, though chiefly for his own protection against 
his agents. During April, 1759, he appointed Thomas 
Child as auditor of his agents. 2 Not only did the leg- 
islature complain of the administration of his terri- 

iC. E. V, 299-300, 1089-94, 1017, 1042-43, 1050; VI, 21-22, 30, 

2C. R. VI, 21-22, 106-07. 


torial system, but the governors also complained. 
They strongly advised the crown to the effect that it 
should obtain full control over Granville's lands by 
purchasing them. 1 This opposition on the part of the 
chief executive was due somewhat to the inefficiency 
of the administration of the land office, but to a greater 
extent to the fact that Granville obtained at least one 
half of the revenues arising from all the lands in the 
province, and thereby greatly diminished the sources 
of the salaries of the crown officials. 

Over the lands in North Carolina belonging to the 
crown a royal land office was erected, but this, as has 
been stated, was much the same as that under the orig- 
inal patentees. Not only did the crown confirm all the 
legal grants made by the proprietors, but it also paid 
off all of the quit-rents in arrears to them, the colon- 
ists no longer being held responsible for these. In 
administering its system the crown, as the proprietors 
had to a large extent done, recognized the rights of the 
assembly ; it advised the governor to secure acts from 
the legislature whereby most matters relating to lands 
should be regulated. 2 The crown reserved the right to 
reject these whenever it deemed necessary. Not only 
did it permit the assembly to pass new regulations, but 
it also allowed many of the proprietary acts concern- 
ing land to continue in force, in some instances for 
many years; 3 the system and policy of the proprietors 
were not fundamentally changed. 

iC. R. VI, 1022-25; VII, 154-57, 514-15; IX, 262, 580. 
2C. R. Ill, 95, 101. 

aC. R. Ill, 101-02, 497; V, 1105-06, 1127-34; VII, 137-42; VIII, 
512-16; Swann, 7, 9, 10, 13, 54. 


The land office under the crown had the following 
officers : the governor, council, secretary, surveyor-gen- 
eral, auditor, receiver-general, inspectors and commis- 
sioners of quit-rents, and the court of exchequer. 

The powers and duties of the governor and council 
as officers of the territorial system have been under 
consideration in another connection. Here it is only 
necessary to state that they were at its head, having 
general oversight of its administration. They issued 
the warrants. These, being oftentimes signed by the 
secretary and auditor, as well as by the governor, were 
sent to the surveyor-general, who was thereby in- 
structed to make the surveys and establish the bound- 
aries of the lands as specified in the said warrants. 
A certificate of the surveys, with the warrants, must 
always be returned to the office of the chief executive 
or of the secretary. According to this certificate the 
governor or secretary issued a grant or patent, and 
this, when recorded in the office of the auditor, con- 
stituted a legal title. 1 

The secretary, of whom we have spoken, was one of 
the executive officers and was appointed by the crown. 
His duties were largely clerical, most of his attention 
being given to the land office. 2 The surveyor-general 
was also a crown officer; he had in charge the survey- 
ing and bounding of all lands for which warrants were 
issued. At first each province had such an officer, but 
after 1739 the crown appointed one person as SUrveyor- 
^iS. Warrants, Surveys or Certificates of, Records. 
*C. R. Ill, 86; State Records I, 8, 120-21; MS. Warrants and 


general and auditor for all of the American colonies, 
and he appointed a deputy surveyor and a deputy au- 
ditor for each colony, and these at his own pleasure. 1 
This deputy auditor was both a territorial and a fiscal 
officer, chiefly fiscal; he audited all accounts of the 
crown's revenues. He was required to send reports 
not only to the auditor-general but also to the treasury 
department in England concerning rents, prizes, fines, 
forfeitures, customs duties and all other forms of the 
public revenue. The land patents were also recorded 
in his office. 2 The receiver-general, as was the case 
with the deputy auditor, was both a territorial and a 
fiscal officer. He was to receive rents and all other 
revenues arising from lands, and had the power of col- 
lection, even by means of sale and distress. He was 
appointed by the crown and was required by it to ren- 
der full accounts of all monies, to the auditor and sur- 
veyor-general of the American colonies. 3 During a 
part of the royal period there was only one receiver- 
generalship for both the Carolinas. In consequence of 
this plan there was much complaint concerning its ineffi- 
ciency, especially in collecting the revenues from lands. 
To remedy the defects of such an arrangement, a dep- 
uty or an assistant was at times appointed by the gov- 
ernor, the council concurring, to aid in their collection. 4 
There was also an inspector or commissioner of terri- 
torial revenues, appointed by the crown for the pur- 

1 State Records I, 1-3, 34; C. R. IV, 37-38; VI, 731-32; IX, 644. 

2 State Records I, 3, 34; C. R. V, 21, 622-23, 817; VI, 48, 725, 
731-32; IX, 644; MS. Warrants. 

'State Records I, 4-6. 

*C. R. Ill, 26-27, 327-29, 436; IV, 15, 39, 45; V, 422-423, 438-39. 


pose of exercising general control over all revenues 
arising from lands. It was also his duty to supervise 
patents, to inspect the books of all the territorial of- 
ficers, to investigate frauds and to settle disputes 
growing out of territorial affairs. 1 

Connected with the territorial office were two courts, 
those of claims and of the exchequer. The first, being 
constituted by the governor and council, took into con- 
sideration all claims growing out of lands; it sat at 
certain places and times, most frequently twice a year, 
made investigations, and disposed in some manner 
of all the cases presented to it. 2 The court of the ex- 
chequer administered justice in all cases arising from 
the revenues, the larger part of which came from lands. 
This court was erected by the governor and council, 
while its presiding officer, the chief baron, was ap- 
pointed by the crown. Such an official was appointed 
in 1732, but there is no record of a court being organ- 
ized prior to 1735. In addition to the chief baron, 
there were assistant barons, an usher and a clerk, all 
being appointed by the governor with the concurrence 
of the council. As to the actual workings of such a 
court we cannot speak with much certainty, as it has 
left few records of proceedings. Even as late as 1767 
it appears that it had never been recognized; it had 
been organized at several times, but had done little or 
no business. 3 

i State Records I, 1-3, 34-41, 61-65. 

2C. R. Ill, 401, 427; IV, 40, 53, 653, 656, 768-70; VII, 442; VIII, 
160-61, 193. 

*C. R. Ill, 100, 424, 496-98; IV, 37, 38, 44, 208, 276-77; V, 
1119-20; VII, 498-99. 


Under the crown, as under the patentees, the policy 
of issuing fairly small grants was adhered to. There 
were, as we have seen, a few large grants made by the 
proprietors, but these were unsettled. The crown now 
proposed to break these up, or at least instructions 
were sent to this effect. The patents called for less 
than six hundred and forty acres, though occasionally 
they contained as many as one thousand acres, only 
once being as large as two thousand. 1 There were a 
few exceptions to this policy of issuing fairly small 
grants, and these were not made by the provincial land 
office, but by the crown's specific orders. In 1737 the 
king, advising with the council, issued an order to the 
provincial office and the surveyor-general to the effect 
that two patents be granted to Henry McCulloh, 2 a Lon- 
don merchant. One containing seventy-two thousand 
acres was located on the northeast branch of the 
Cape Fear River; the other containing sixty thousand 
acres was located at the head of the Neuse River and 
upon the upper branch of the Cape Fear. These grants 
were made for speculative purposes, not for settle- 
ment, at least to any great extent. And during the 
same year the king ordered that patents issue to other 
London merchants for one million and two hundred 
thousand acres on the upper waters of the Pee Dee, 
Cape Fear and Neuse rivers, in twelve tracts. These 
were likewise mainly for speculative purposes. In 

L C. R. Ill, 101-02; MS. Warrants, Surveys, Records. 

2 He had been appointed commissioner for inspecting and controlling 
the royal revenues and grants of land in the Carolinas. State Records 
I, 31-41. 


1745 Governor Johnston, acting upon the orders from 
the crown, issued at least forty patents, of twelve 
thousand five hundred acres each, to the associates 
and assignees of these merchants, also a large number 
of grants of the same size to Henry McCulloh and his 
associates. 1 Few, if any, of these patents were prop- 
erly settled, and being granted mainly for speculative 
purposes they cannot properly be regarded as consti- 
tuting an exception to the regular policy of issuing 
small grants. 

The grantee under the crown was in practically the 
same situation as he had been under the patentees. He 
obtained his lands by making a small purchase payment 
and by pledging himself to pay an annual quit-rent, 
holding his grant in free and common socage, subject 
to the obligation of yearly rents and fealty to the crown. 
The quit-rents, as established under the crown, were 
as a rule at the rate of four shillings proclamation 
money per one hundred acres. 2 These quit-rents were 
a matter of great importance, both to the crown and the 
colonists. As they constituted the chief source of the 
crown's revenue in the province, and especially the 
source of the salaries of its officers, the executive looked 
the more carefully to the maintenance of a high rate. 
Their rate, the form in which they should be payable, 
and the places at which payment should be made, be- 
came the subject of much dispute and conflict between 
the executive and the lower house of the legislature 
during the first ten years of the royal administration. 

i C. R. IV, 253-54; V, 770-82; VI, 773-74, 996-98; MS. Records. 
2C. R. Ill, 102; IV, 54; MS. Warrants. 


Since these conflicts, from the point of view of consti- 
tutional law, have been discussed in another connection, 
here they will be considered solely with reference to 
their historical development. 

Under the system of quit-rents, as it originated with 
the proprietors, the revenue from lands accrued in small 
amounts and very slowly, but the rent was payable 
forever. As we have seen, the original plan of grant- 
ing lands subject to quit-rents only was changed to that 
of granting for purchase money and quit-rents some 
time before the patentees surrendered their claims. 
With the introduction of this change it seems that the 
rents were less efficiently collected. The colonists were 
glad to escape their payment, and the proprietors had 
no adequate system of collecting them ; the rent-roll was 
never completed and there was as yet no law in force 
declaring lands vacated unless the quit-rents were prop- 
erly paid. 1 

This was the condition of affairs when the first royal 
governor arrived in 1731. He came with instructions 
to issue no grants at a lower rate of quit-rent than four 
shillings per one hundred acres, while the colonists had 
received most of their lands at one-half this rate, or 
less. As a matter of course, they demanded that he 
continue to act according to the old and long established 
rule, even though contrary to his specific instructions. 
The crown would not yield to such demands, and con- 
sequently a struggle between the executive and the 
lower house went on for the first nine years of the royal 

i C. R. Ill, 144, 148, 149. 


administration. 1 The collection of rents during these 
years was very inefficient. In 1739, however, an act 
was passed with the specific ohject of securing a rent- 
roll, so that rents might be collected more efficiently. 
This was the first act of the kind in the history of the 
province. In 1747 this act was repealed, exactly why 
we do not know ; it was passed again in 1748, with some 
modifications particularly in regard to what rents 
should be payable in and at what rates. 2 The act of 
1748, together with several other territorial acts cover- 
ing the years from 1715 to 1750, was during 1754 re- 
pealed by the crown. From this time to the end of the 
royal administration the governor received instructions 
concerning quit-rents, especially in what they were pay- 
able and at what rates commodities might be accepted. 
He was also to secure a new act concerning quit-rents, 
the provisions of which would protect the interests of 
the crown. Such an act was passed in 1755, with a 
clause suspending its execution until the crown gave 
its approval. This act was found to be as objectionable 
to the crown as the former ones had been, and appar- 
ently the royal approval was never given. 3 Both 
parties, the colonists and the crown, were thus opposed 
to each other; the king was desirous of obtaining the 
maximum of revenue from the quit-rents, while the 
colonists were disposed to reduce this in one way or 
another to a minimum. 

i C. R. Ill, 102, 139, 144, 148, 149, 292-93, 337, 632; IV, 287, 425-27; 
V, 100. 

2C. R. IV, 410, 846; V, 101-08, 1106; Svvann, 85, 275-78, 329. 
3 C. R. V, 448-49; IX, 824, 1007, 1257; Davis,1765, II, 35. 


The processioning of lands became a matter of con- 
siderable importance. Surveying was very inefficiently 
done, and disputes concerning boundaries were, there- 
fore, most frequent. But this was a matter for the 
legislature, only indirectly for the crown. An act was 
passed in 1723 by the assembly under the patentees, re- 
quiring that all lands be processioned every three years 
and establishing the method by which this should be 
done. This being amended in 1729, making the penalty 
for neglect the more severe, was continued in force 
down at least to 1757, and perhaps to 1773. * 

Of more importance than processioning was registra- 
tion. Original patents were recorded in the land office, 
but transfers and leases most frequently were not so 
recorded. The patentees had given instructions requir- 
ing this, but these were by no means fully obeyed. 
What system they had prior to 1715, we do not know. 
The first act pertaining to this subject, of which there 
is now any record, was passed by the assembly in 
1715-1716, though this was perhaps a restatement of 
an older act. It provided for the appointment of regis- 
ters in each precinct and defined their powers and 
duties. This act, as well as the proprietors ' instruc- 
tions, laid down the principle that the first deed, and 
also the first mortgage, which was registered in the land 
office was the valid one. Precinct registers were kept 
until the beginning of the royal period, and most prob- 
ably to its end, but apparently there was no general 
registry for the whole province prior to about 1733. 
Then the auditor, or his deputy, was assigned the duty 

* Swann, 54, 76; Davis, 1773, 560; C. R. V, 741. 


of making a registration for the whole colony, 1 the pre- 
cinct registers rendering yearly accounts to him. Such 
a plan was intended to secure a greater efficiency of 
registration, but it was not properly executed ; and the 
assembly hindered rather than facilitated its adminis- 
tration. In 1741 two acts were passed, one extending 
the time in which registration could be made, the other 
relieving those who had failed to comply with the pro- 
visions of the act of 1715-1716. Again in 1755, 1756, 
1760, 1764, 1766, 1770 and 1773 other acts of relief were 
passed. The records indicate that only one of these 
—the act of 1755— was repealed by the crown. In 
registration, as in processioning, the assembly exercised 
the chief control. 2 

Next to quit-rents, escheats and forfeitures were most 
important. To both the patentees and the crown they 
brought in some revenue. Their regulation was for the 
most part in the hands of the proprietors and the crown, 
and was not so fully intrusted to the legislature, as was 
the case with processioning and registration. The sys- 
tem of escheats was much more fully established by an 
act of 1715-1716 than it had previously been, and the 
conditions were now in part denned. By the king 
lands were granted upon the condition that three acres 
out of every fifty should be cultivated within three 
years of the issue of the grant ; otherwise they escheated 
back to the crown. Not only did the crown define the 
terms, but it also appointed an escheator to look after 

i C. R. I, 79; III, 88; IV, 54; Swann, 19-20. 

2C. R. VI, 7-8; Swann, 155, 215-76; Davis, 1765, II, 71-72, 83-84, 
211-12, 332; Davis, 1773, 344-45, 464, 562. 


them. Lands also escheated upon the death of the 
holder without heirs, and they were forfeited for felony 
or treason. Granville, as well as the crown, had such 
a system, the only difference being in the conditions, 1 
and these were not important. 

Concerning the efficiency of the territorial system and 
its administration not very much can be said, except 
to its discredit. Under the patentees there was much 
looseness, and a good many abuses prevailed. These 
continued, though not to so great an extent, under the 
crown. From 1724 to 1729 there is much evidence also 
of fraudulent grants, and from 1729 until the first royal 
governor arrived in 1731 a large number of blank 
patents were issued from the land office — though upon 
no specific authority from England— which allowed the 
holders to fill out the number of acres. These, of 
course, led to much abuse and fraud; 2 they were not 
recorded when issued from the land office, and they, as 
well as many regular patents, were not properly regis- 
tered when transferred. As we have already seen, the 
assembly passed many acts relieving holders from the 
penalties of not registering. Under such conditions it 
was impossible to have anything like a complete rent- 
roll, and without this quit-rents could not be properly 
collected. Moreover, the crown officers in control of 
the territorial administration were at times not very 
active or intelligent in discharging their duties. 

» C. R. I, 59-67, 453; II, 305, 317, 323, 451, 452; III, 101, 148, 295; 
IV, 208; V, 1105, 1135; Swann, 11-12, 90; Granville MS. Warrants 
and Surveys. 

2C. R. IV, 417-18; V, 93-97, 587; VI, 600-05, 1073-76; VII, 513-14. 

3C. R. IV, 417-18; V, 93-97, 587; VI, 600-05, 1073-76; VII, 513-14, 
883-84; VIII, 164, 167-68, 196; IX, 260, 602-04, 647-50, 608-10, 653-55. 


The Fiscal System and Administration. 

The territorial administration, as has been seen, is 
in any country of very great importance. Connected 
with it, and of perhaps equally great significance, is 
the fiscal system, its policy and management. In the 
province of North Carolina money in some form was 
necessary, for paying the expenses of the administra- 
tion and the defence, for discharging the dues of the 
colonists to the patentees and the crown, and for carry- 
ing on commercial transactions. The sources of the 
public revenue, the form which it assumed, and espe- 
cially its collection and distribution, were matters of 
great importance. 1 It was necessary that the provin- 
cial government should provide for the public revenues. 
It was also necessary that it should regulate and con- 
trol the medium of exchange between colonists and 
colonists and between them and itself, for upon this de- 
pended in a large measure the prosperity of both the 
government and the colonists. 

On all these questions the crown naturally took the 
point of view of an old and highly developed country, a 
conservative one, while the colonists upon the whole 
adopted the notions of pioneer communities, less sound 

1 See Bullock, The Monetary History of the United States, for an 
excellent statement. 



and more radical; pioneers in a new and undeveloped 
country almost invariably do this. Even among the 
colonists themselves there were different views, the 
more wealthy as a rule being to a large extent in sym- 
pathy with the ideas of economics and finance in gen- 
eral vogue in England, while the poorer ones frequently 
favored an unsound and fluctuating monetary system. 
What then was the position of the crown, what was 
its fiscal policy? Finances being of such great impor- 
tance, the crown theoretically did not leave much to the 
discretion of the provincial officers. The governor was 
in this particular placed under many limitations and 
restraints, which were intended largely to prevent his 
yielding to the demands of the lower house of the legis- 
lature. He was especially instructed not to assent to 
acts of the assembly which provided for the issue of 
bills of credit unless they contained provisions to the 
effect that they should not go into operation until the 
crown officials in England had passed on them. Many 
bills of credit had been issued under the proprietors, 
and many abuses had come from them, causing trouble 
in commercial transactions. By these instructions 
being made so prominent, it would appear that the 
crown purposed to regulate the medium of exchange, 
rather minutely perhaps. Not only this, but the gover- 
nor was also to keep the officials in England well in- 
formed upon all monetary conditions. And, too, the 
auditing of all fiscal accounts was to be done by an 
officer of the crown who did not reside exclusively in 
one province, the auditor-general of America ; and this 
officer, as well as the governor, must report at least 


twice a year to the treasury department in England and 
the board of plantations, concerning the public reve- 
nues. It is quite clear that the crown intended that, 
through the provincial executive, it should control these 
and their expenditures. Though the governor might 
on occasions allow the assembly to examine into all the 
accounts of the public moneys, still he was not legally 
compelled to do this. To be sure this was in actual 
practice done most frequently, but it was so done in 
order to secure the friendly feeling of the representa- 
tives of the colonists. Not only were the governor and 
council to control all public revenues, but they were 
also to regulate the salaries and fees of the public 
officers, securing, if possible, a confirmation from the 
assembly. 1 

Such were the purposes of the crown, but owing to 
the force of circumstances it failed to attain them. It 
had to yield to many of the desires and demands of the 
lower house, though contrary to the policy which has 
been outlined above. However, for the first seventeen 
years it allowed no issue of bills of credit, with two ex- 
ceptions, these being for emergencies. In 1748, after 
many solicitations from the colonists and the lower 
house, the governor assented to the issue of more of 
this form of paper money, though it was contrary to 
his instructions and though there was at the time no 
great necessity for such action. 2 Six years later the 
actual state of war compelled another issue, and others 
still in 1760 and 1761. The crown now determined to 

iC. R. Ill, 95-103, 497; V, 1106, 1114; VII, 137-38; VIII, 512. 
*C. K. VI, 1308; Swann, 266-70. 


put an end to the violation of its instructions, the 
ignoring of its policy, and the evil effects of such large 
issues of provincial paper, by securing from parlia- 
ment, during 1764, an act forbidding any American 
colony to issue further bills of credit, and in 1773 a 
similar enactment in regard to treasury notes. De- 
benture notes, however, were allowed to be issued in 
great emergencies, as in 1768-1769 and 1771. 1 

Though by no means wholly successful in carrying 
out its policy concerning the issue of paper money, 
nevertheless the crown was more successful here than 
it was in its attempts to control the auditing and the 
disposition of the public revenues. To be sure, the 
auditor of the crown did examine the accounts of 
moneys obtained from lands, customs and other sources 
of the royal revenue, but the two houses of the legisla- 
ture in practice audited all the accounts of moneys 
raised or appropriated by the assembly, and these con- 
stituted, especially in time of war, the larger part of the 
public revenues. Though the governor must render 
accounts of the moneys raised by the assembly, for 
ordinary or extraordinary purposes, to the home au- 
thorities, still for the most part he did not exercise 
any great control over these. Not only did the legis- 
lature in reality audit them; it also appointed the 
treasurers and commissioners who collected them, and, 
therefore, had a controlling influence over them. Over 
the point, as to which body, the executive or the legis- 
lature, should regulate and control the public moneys, 

*C. R. VII, 887-88, 915-17; VIII, 5, 6, 9; IX, 76; 4 Geo. Ill, c. 34; 
13 Geo. Ill, c. 57. 


there was a struggle throughout the royal period. 
This has been under discussion in another connection. 
Here it is only necessary to state that, as a result of this 
long conflict, the crown failed in the main to carry its 
point. And, moreover, the crown failed, even signally, 
in its attempts to secure from the legislature perma- 
nent salaries for the provincial officers, especially the 
executive; the assembly did not often make such pro- 
vision even for a year, to say nothing of such a perma- 
nent provision. 

Prior to 1712 there was apparently no paper cur- 
rency in the province, and during this period there 
was very little coin or sterling, the chief form of ex- 
change among the early colonists being barter or com- 
modities. The prices of these commodities were fixed 
by provincial laws, and they were higher than the 
market prices. What the exchange ratio between 
barter and sterling was during the first years of the 
colony 's life we can not say with much certainty, though 
in 1709 it was three to one ; J and this was perhaps the 
lowest during the whole period under the patentees. 
It now became so low that the proprietors issued an 
order to their receiver-general to the effect that no 
more barter should be received in payment of the quit- 
rents. As the evidence seems to indicate, such an 
order was not based upon an intelligent understand- 
ing of the situation. There was not sufficient gold and 
silver to pay these rents ; the council acted with much 
more intelligence when in 1713 it ordered that barter 
should be accepted in payment of the rents, if in good 

i C. R. I, 715. 



commodities and at fair market rates. Such an order 
on the part of the provincial council was confirmed by 
the patentees, and in 1715-1716 they allowed, by accept- 
ing an act of the assembly, seventeen different com- 
modities to become legal tender in the payment of all 
kinds of debts, the number being increased later. 
These were accepted in payment of both quit-rents and 
taxes, even to the middle of the eighteenth century, 
though many of them did not long pass in the markets 
at the rates fixed by the laws. 1 

This barter currency was very inconvenient and at 
the same time lacked flexibility; its defects were quite 
apparent even in the most backward parts of the prov- 
ince. That the colonists should ask for a change, for 
a medium of exchange which was much more easy and 
flexible, was, therefore, most natural. Coin they did not 
possess to any extent, barter was inconvenient, and a 
demand for paper money came ; and apparently this de- 
mand came rather early in the history of the province. 
So far as the records show, the patentees did not make 
concession to such demands until in 1712, and then 
under the pressure of circumstances. The colony was 
now burdened in its efforts to meet the heavy expenses 
of carrying on a war with the Tuscaroras, and for the 
first time did it feel the need for extraordinary reve- 
nue. A tax was levied with which to pay these ex- 
penses. To collect it required some time, and, in order 
to secure the money at once, 4,000 pounds in bills of 
credit were issued. These bills, being interest bearing 
for a time, were made legal tender and thus forced 

iC. R. II, 33-34; III, 185, 615; IV, 292-94, 415, 919-23. 


upon the colonists. By the act of their issue they were 
given a value in exchange equal to the barter currency, 
sometimes called "proclamation money." The fact 
that they were supposed to be paid and taken up in a 
comparatively short time caused them to pass at par 
for a time. Had the tax been collected, which was not 
done rapidly or regularly, and had the legislature not 
forced the patentees to accept them in payment of quit- 
rents, such an issue would have been fair. But to 
force the proprietors, living in England, to accept them 
for territorial dues, when they were worth practically 
nothing outside of the province, was an act of injustice, 
and to delay in collecting the tax, which was to refund 
them, was also unfair to the colonists who held them. 1 
When the precedent of issuing bills of credit was once 
established, it was not at all easy to resist the demands 
on the part of the colonists for a further issue. The 
Indian war continued, and the tax for sinking the bills 
of the first issue was very slowly collected. These cir- 
cumstances made it necessary, at least it was so thought 
by the lower house, to swell the currency of the prov- 
ince by more paper money; 8,000 pounds more were 
emitted during 1713. These bills, like the first, were 
made legal tender, and were to be redeemed by a tax 
on land and polls. Again the proprietors especially 
suffered, as they were forced to accept this paper in 
payment of the quit-rents, though it very quickly de- 
preciated. The depreciation was at least 40 per cent, 
within the province, and outside of it the paper was 
practically worthless. To be sure, the proprietors op- 

iC. R. I, 838; III, 145, 484-85, 615; IV, 576. 


posed such a fiscal policy, but the circumstances were 
such as to force them to yield. 1 

This, however, was by no means the end of the paper 
money policy of the legislature. Again in 1714-1715, 
when the Indian wars were over, it issued 24,000 pounds 
of bills of credit, in spite of the wishes of the patentees 
to the contrary. In fact the assembly was now largely 
in control of the administration, and consequently its 
fiscal policy was to be extended. This third issue of 
bills was to sink those of the former emissions— still 
amounting to almost the original sum, 12,000 pounds— 
and to pay off the outstanding indebtedness. This 
affords very strong proof of the fact that practically 
none of the taxes laid for sinking the first issues had 
been collected. It is also a remarkable commentary 
upon the efficiency of the fiscal system. These bills of 
1715, bearing no interest, were not limited as to the 
time in which they were to be redeemed, though a tax 
was laid upon land and polls for the purpose of sinking 
them. They were made equal in exchange value to 
the barter currency, which was now by law at the ratio 
of 1.5 to 1 sterling. Though made legal tender, still 
this was not sufficient to cause them to pass at anything 
like their par value. The legislature anticipated this, 
and even went so far as to place a considerable penalty 
upon any member of either house who should speak in 
any manner whatever derogatory to the public credit. 
It also enacted that a refusal to accept the bills would 
be punished by a forfeiture of twice the amount pre- 
sented and refused. 2 This plan of maintaining the 

i C. R. II, 50; III, 145, 485; IV, 576. 

2 C. R. Ill, 177-79, 187, 189, 485; IV, 576. 


bills at par was so unnatural and based upon such faulty 
economic principles that it amounted to nothing, except 
to show the real situation of the currency. The first 
two issues had been practical failures, and the assembly 
proposed to maintain, if possible, by means of arbitrary 
regulations a system which could not survive upon its 
own merits. In reality the public credit was not im- 
proved or strengthened by such enactments. Within 
two years of their issue the bills were passing at a very 
considerable discount, and by 1721 they were on the 
market at 2.5 to 1 sterling, while by the act of their 
issue they were given the ratio of 1.5 to 1 sterling; and 
this depreciation took place in spite of the fact that 
some of them were being redeemed. Now the pro- 
prietors, to protect themselves, were forced to refuse 
to accept them in payment for lands, either purchase 
money or quit-rents, though they were accepting "pro- 
clamation money," that is barter. 1 

These bills, as we have seen, were to be redeemed by 
a tax on polls and land. This was very slowly col- 
lected, and in 1720 the assembly reduced its rate, in 
spite of the provision in the act of 1714-1715 to the 
effect that the said tax should not be reduced until all 
the bills had been redeemed. By 1722 there were still 
outstanding of these at least 12,000 pounds— one half 
of the issue— and to exchange these this amount of new 
bills was emitted. Though the act of 1722 did not en- 
large the paper currency, still the rate of exchange did 
not improve, bills passing during the years from 1722 
to 1729 at about 5 to 1 sterling, a great depreciation. 

i C. R. II, 250, 270, 417; IV, 576. 


Whether or not there was any provision for the sinking 
of these new bills we cannot say with absolute cer- 
tainty. Governor Johnston claimed that none was 
made, while Governor Burrington declared that some 
provision was made, though a very poor one, and he 
was most probably correct. Whatever it was, it 
amounted to little. By 1729 at least 10,000 pounds of 
these bills were still outstanding, less than 2,000 pounds 
having been redeemed in seven years. 1 

This was not yet the end of the issue of paper money, 
though it was passing at a very great discount. In 
1729, before the crown assumed control, though after 
the purchase had been made, 40,000 pounds were issued, 
in the shape of bills of credit. Of these 10,000 pounds 
were for the purpose of taking up the old bills, though 
outstanding bills still existed perhaps to the amount 
of 12,000 pounds. This would increase the paper cur- 
rency by about 30,000 pounds, and this amount was to 
be loaned at six per cent, interest for a term of fifteen 
years, upon what was supposed to be good security. 
The interest, together with one fifteenth of the prin- 
cipal, should be paid yearly, thereby sinking the whole 
issue of 40,000 pounds by the end of this period and 
leaving a balance to the province of 5,000 pounds. Had 
the greatest care been taken in loaning this, and espe- 
cially in accepting the securities, the province might 
perhaps have been able to redeem the whole issue 
within fifteen years without laying a tax. Such care 
was not taken, and the expectations of the assembly 
were not realized. Many bad securities were accepted 

1 C. R. Ill, 145, 189-90, 485-86; IV, 178, 576; Swaim, 48. 


and consequently the loans based upon them failed ; and 
those that were well placed failed to bring in sufficient 
revenue with which to redeem the bills as provided for 
in the act of issue. This, as well as the former policy 
of the assembly in regard to maintaining the currency, 
caused a considerable depreciation. By 1731 the bills 
were passing in the province at from 7 or 8 to 1 
sterling, while the ratio established by law was 5.17 to 
1 sterling. 1 

Such was the fiscal condition of the province when 
Governor Burrington, the first royal governor, arrived. 
The colonists demanded that all fees and quit-rents be 
paid in these depreciated bills, while he was specifically 
instructed against accepting them. This meant that 
the crown proposed to change the fiscal conditions and 
policies which had existed during the last years of the 
proprietory administration. Such instructions were, 
however, by no means easily carried out. The colon- 
ists, whenever their paper money was refused, did not 
pay their quit-rents or fees. Moreover, the banking 
scheme of 1729 failed, at least to a very large extent. 
By 1735 not one tenth of the money due from the in- 
terest and principal of the loans had been paid, and in 
order to meet current expenses, and supply a better 
medium whereby the quit-rents, then greatly in arrears, 
could be paid, the assembly passed an act which pro- 
vided for a new issue of bills of credit. Governor 
Johnston was by force of necessity compelled to accept 
such a plan, though contrary to his instructions from 
the crown. This act provided for the emission of 40,- 

i Swann, 71; C. R. Ill, 145-46, 190; IV, 101-02, 178-79, 419, 576. 


000 pounds of paper currency, and it was stated in the 
act that this amount was for the purpose of exchanging 
the bills of 1729. This meant that none of the issue 
of 1729 had been redeemed, that thus again the assem- 
bly had broken faith with the public, and that the old 
bills now greatly depreciated were declared equal in 
value to the new ones. It was also provided that all 
moneys accruing from the loans of 1729 should be re- 
loaned at six per cent, interest, the principal being pay- 
able by 1744, at which time the bills of 1729 accord- 
ing to the terms of the act of issue were to be redeemed 
in full. By the former issues of paper money it had 
been provided that it should be redeemed as rapidly 
as possible ; but now the paper currency was to be kept 
at 40,000 pounds for at least ten years, 1 without any 
redemption during this period. 

Nor was this the end of the efforts of the assembly 
to defeat the wishes of the crown. During the same 
session of 1735 it also passed an act, to which the 
governor gave his assent upon the grounds that it was 
an emergency measure, to the effect that 10,000 pounds 
of new bills should be issued. For the purpose of dis- 
charging some very pressing claims about 14,150 
pounds were granted by the assembly to the crown. 
To obtain this amount a poll tax and a duty upon 
liquors were levied, to be collected for a term of five 
years. This, of course, was a slow process, and in 
order to facilitate the transaction this amount, or at 
least 10,000 pounds, should be obtained by issuing bills 

i Swann, 79; C. R. Ill, 95, 540-41; IV, 78, 104, 169, 179-80, 251, 
419, 576-77. 


of credit, these to be redeemed within five years by the 
said tax and duty. So that the assembly had almost 
at one time emitted 50,000 pounds of paper currency. 
Nor was this all. It allowed the commissioners, who 
were appointed for the purpose of issuing the 40,000 
pounds for exchanging the outstanding bills, to emit 
2,500 pounds more with which to pay their own ex- 
penses. Thus in 1735 the province had 52,500 pounds 
of paper currency, while, if the provisions of the act 
of 1729 had been carried out, not more than two-thirds 
of this amount would have been outstanding. With 
such a large amount of paper currency in circulation, 
with poor provisions for its redemption, as well as with 
a record for bad faith on the part of the legislature, 
these bills of credit rapidly depreciated until they 
passed at 10 to 1 sterling. 1 

By 1744 all of these bills should have been redeemed, 
according to the provisions of the acts of issue, but it 
was upon investigation found that none of them had 
been taken up. Whether the tax and duty had not 
been collected, whether they had been collected and 
used for other purposes than that for which they were 
specifically assigned, we can not say with certainty. 
In any case it is clear that the banking scheme of 1729 
had failed and that whatever funds had been obtained 
from the said tax and duty had been used for other 
than their assigned purposes. Whose fault this was 
it is impossible definitely to say, though it is most prob- 
able that it should be shared by the assembly and the 

i Swann, 79, 83; C. R. Ill, 541, 548-49; IV, 175-85, 205, 398-99, 
415-16, 419, 421, 552-53, 557-58, 577. 


fiscal officers of the province. With such a policy as 
this, with such continued and consistent breaking of 
the public faith on the part of the body which issued 
this currency, it would, of course, greatly depreciate. 
The 52,500 pounds of bills of credit were now, at the 
most liberal estimate, worth only 5,000 pounds sterling. 
The lower house proposed to remedy the extreme fiscal 
situation by issuing more bills of credit and by virtual 
repudiation. The new bills were to be valued at the 
same rate as barter money, 1.5 to 1 sterling. At this 
rate it would require only about 8,000 pounds of new 
paper to take up the whole amount of outstanding bills, 
which was 52,500 pounds. To such a proposition the 
upper house would not agree, though repudiation was 
not objected to on principle. Consequently nothing of 
importance was done toward relieving the situation. 
It is true that, during the next year, at the request of 
Governor Johnston, a poll tax was levied for a term 
of eight years for the purpose of redeeming in part, at 
least, the outstanding bills. It required much more 
than this to bring back the paper currency to anything 
like its par value. 1 

From 1745 to 1748 many requests on the part of the 
colonists and the members of the lower house were made 
for a further issue of bills of credit. There was need 
of money for defence along the coast, also for paying 
the quit-rents and the salaries, both of which were by 
1748 largely in arrears. These conditions made the gov- 
ernor the more ready to yield to the demands for a fur- 

iSwann, 187; MS. Laws; C. R. IV, 552-53, 557-58, 714-17, 719-32, 
734, 738-39, 746-47, 772-73, 779, 782, 788, 791-93. 


ther resort to paper money, and accordingly a new issue 
was allowed, of 21,350 pounds, the whole amount being 
granted to the crown. Of this, 6,000 pounds were set 
aside for coast defence. The remainder was to go 
toward paying the salaries of the members of the two 
houses and other officers, and for redeeming the out- 
standing bills. The act for the issue of these bills 
established the rate of their exchange, declaring them 
proclamation money, known from this time as "new 
proclamation," and making one pound of these equal 
to seven and one half pounds of the old bills. At such 
an exchange rate the 52,500 pounds of outstanding 
paper currency would be equal to 7,000 pounds of the 
new bills. The new bills were made legal tender in 
the ratio of 4 to 3 sterling, and were to be redeemed 
by a poll tax, to be collected as long as any of the bills 
remained outstanding. Not only was this an act of 
repudiation, and upon a fairly large scale, but also by 
it the principle of redeeming bills at any indefinite time, 
and most probably never, was clearly announced. 
While this currency did not depreciate so rapidly, as 
had been the case in several of the earlier issues, still 
it passed at less than its established rate, and this in 
spite of the fact of the disappearance of the old barter 
currency and of a very considerable increase in the 
population of the province. 1 

For six years there was no further increase in the 
paper currency. When the French and Indian wars 
came, and with them a much greater demand for money, 
bills of credit were again resorted to. The province 

iSwann, 266-70; C. R. IV, 755, 792-93, 866, 900, 915, 919-23, 1073. 


must be defended; forts must be built and equipped, 
soldiers provisioned and paid. Under these pressing 
conditions President Kowan, in 1754, gave bis assent 
to a bill granting 40,000 pounds to the crown in the 
shape of bills of credit. Of this amount, 17,000 pounds 
were set apart for the purposes of war, while the rest 
should go toward the paying of debts, the building of 
school houses, and for contingencies. They were given 
the same rate of exchange as the issue of 1748, 4 to 3 
sterling, and were forced upon the public by being made 
legal tender. For their redemption a poll tax and a 
duty upon imported liquors were laid. Still they met 
with much the same experience as the former issues; 
they depreciated to a considerable degree within the 
province, and outside of it they were practically worth- 
less. So great were the inconveniences of such a 
monetary system that the London merchants trading 
with the province petitioned the crown in 1759 to take 
away the legal tender quality of the bills. The crown 
sent out instructions to the effect that, when these bills 
were offered to the English merchants, they should be 
accepted at the option of the merchant and at their ex- 
change ratio on the London market, which was very low 
indeed. 1 

As the war continued, more and more money was 
needed; and Governor Dobbs, though desirous of ad- 
hering to his instructions from the crown which forbade 
any further issue of bills of credit, still was moved by 
force of circumstances to yield to an extent. He gave 

i Davis, 1765, II, 18-25; C. R. V, 108-09, 440; VI, 16-17, 24-25, 


his assent to an act for the emission of 3,400 pounds, 
not in bills of credit, but in treasury notes, to be used 
for military purposes. These notes were in several 
respects different from the bills of credit which the 
assembly had long been in the custom of issuing. 
They were interest bearing and were to be redeemed at 
the end of one year, a poll tax and a duty upon liquors 
being laid for this purpose. Nor was this the only 
issue of these treasury notes, as during 1757 and 1758 
there were issued of this kind of currency, and under 
the same general conditions, 25,806 pounds, making, 
with the earlier issue, 29,206 pounds. It is worthy of 
special remark that the assembly and fiscal officers of 
the province now kept faith with the public in a far 
more honorable way than they had done in the case of 
the bills of credit. By 1764 interest had been paid on 
these notes to the amount of 1,370 pounds, while by the 
same time 23,807 pounds, principal and interest, had 
been redeemed. 1 While these treasury notes brought 
relief to the province, still they did not by any means 
restore it to a good fiscal condition. The bills of credit 
of 1748 and 1754 were not being redeemed at all rapidly, 
and were consequently depreciating. Though the 
population was rapidly increasing and, therefore, caus- 
ing a greater demand for money, by 1759 they were 
passing at 1.9 to 1 sterling. In 1760 Governor Dobbs 
asked for a modification in the conditions, even though 
it were necessary to emit more bills of credit. An act 
was passed during this year for the issue of 12,000 
pounds more of this kind of legal tender paper money. 
Again the assembly placed no limit to the time within 

iDavis, 1765, II, 80; C. R. VI, 1309-10. 


which the bills should be redeemed, though it made 
a general provision for their redemption by levying a 
poll tax. This issue was followed during the next 
year by another of 20,000 pounds, and with the same 
general provisions. Both of these acts, though con- 
trary to the royal instructions, were assented to by 
Governor Dobbs, largely from military necessity. 1 

By the issues of such bills in 1748, 1754, 1760 and 
1761, 93,350 pounds had been put into circulation. By 
1764 there had been redeemed of this amount 25,286 
pounds, leaving outstanding 68,064 pounds. There was 
also still unredeemed the sum of 6,769 pounds in treas- 
ury notes, making the paper currency then in circula- 
tion, 74,833 pounds. This was apparently not too large 
a currency, as the population was at least 200,000. 
This was, however, not all of the money then in circu- 
lation. Much barter was still used in the western 
counties, while inspector's notes were in circulation in 
the eastern portions of the province. 2 

Though in 1764 an act was passed by the parliament 
against any further issues of bills of credit by any 
American province, still this did not put an end to the 
desire of the colonists of North Carolina for more in- 
flated paper currency. It did, however, stop the issue 
of the special form of currency known as bills of credit 
and that in spite of many entreaties on the part of the 
lower house and the colonists, especially of those living 
in the western frontier counties, where there was prac- 

i Davis, 1765, II, 189-92, 220-23; C. R. VI, 17. 

2C. R. VI, 1046-47, 1308-11; VII, 145, 289, 539; preface, pp. 


tically no coin and where their commodities were not 
legal tender in payment of taxes and debts. 1 

Though no further issues of these bills were allowed 
and though the 74,833 pounds in circulation in 1764, 
and afterwards, was apparently not too large an amount 
of currency, still the bills did not maintain their par 
value. By 1767 they were passing at 1.82 to 1 sterling 
while by the acts of issue their ratio was made 1.33 
to 1. They were also being redeemed much more 
rapidly than had hitherto been the custom. By 1768 
at least 15,000 pounds had been taken up ; and this most 
probably would have improved the public credit had the 
assembly, during 1768, not resolved to discontinue the 
taxes levied for the redemption of the bills of 1760 and 
1761, though in reality they had not had their full 
effect. 2 Not only did the assembly now propose to take 
away some of the sources of revenue whereby its 
public promises could be redeemed, but it also issued 
more paper currency, though not of the type of bills of 
credit. The lower house was very strong in its de- 
mands that 30,000 pounds of bills be emitted, notwith- 
standing the act of parliament to the contrary; a com- 
promise was reached between it and the executive to 
the effect that 20,000 pounds of debenture notes be 
issued. The assent of Governor Tryon to the act was 
partly due to the fact that there was an outstanding 
debt of 4,844 pounds, incurred during the first cam- 
paign against the ' ' regulators, ' ' and to the other fact 
that he was very desirous of finishing his fifteen thou- 
sand dollar palace at Newbern. Though the assembly 

iC. R. VII, 497, 619-21, 678-79, 866-67; VIII, 16-18, 75-84. 
2C. R. VII, 491, 493, 983; VIII, 10, 12, 215. 


again swelled the paper currency, already depreciated, 
still it did not force these notes upon the public by 
making thern legal tender. They were also to be re- 
deemed by a tax levied on polls. According to Gov- 
ernor Martin's account these notes did not, however, 
relieve the fiscal situation to any considerable extent. 1 
Again, during 1771, the assembly entreated the crown 
to allow another issue of bills of credit, for the purpose 
of meeting the expense of about 40,000 pounds, which 
had been incurred in the second expedition against the 
" regulators. ' ' Again its requests were refused. The 
crown was now determined to live up to the principles 
of the act of parliament of 1764. In December of this 
year, upon an investigation being made, it was found, 
according to Governor Martin's report, that 42,800 
pounds of the bills of credit were still unredeemed and 
that there was an indebtedness of another kind of about 
60,000 pounds. Martin, realizing the very bad state of 
the fiscal system, asked the crown to allow a further 
issue of bills, with which to take up the old ones and 
with which to discharge the floating debts. The per- 
mission was given upon the condition that the new 
issues were not made legal tender. The lower house, 
however, was not satisfied with this ; it demanded that 
120,000 pounds of debenture notes be emitted, a sum 
considerably larger than was absolutely needed, and 
that these be forced upon the public by being made 
legal tender in the payment of all debts except those 
due to British merchants. Governor Martin would not 
accept such a bill, though he was willing to compromise 

i Davis, 1773, 342-43, 394-95; C. R. VII, 887-88, 915-17; VIII, 5, 
6, 9 ; IX, 66-69. 


the matter by allowing an act for the issue of 60,000 
pounds of such notes, provided they were not given 
the legal tender value. This compromise proposition 
was accepted by the lower house. Notes to this amount 
were emitted, with a provision in the shape of a poll tax 
for their redemption. 1 This issue of notes increased 
the paper currency of the province to about 100,000 
pounds. There was at this time a population of about 
250,000, and for this population the currency was by 
no means too large in amount. However, it did not 
pass at par, 1.33 to 1 sterling, but at 1.60 to l. 2 

Thus, as we have seen, the province obtained the 
larger part of its revenue from lands, quit-rents and 
purchase money, from poll and land taxes, from cus- 
toms duties upon the importation of liquors, and from 
tonnage duties. 3 

This revenue was collected by the territorial officers 
and by the sheriffs and collectors of customs. The ter- 
ritorial and customs officers, being largely under the con- 
trol of the crown, were not the occasion of dispute be- 
tween the provincial executive and the legislature. The 
sheriffs, and especially the treasurers, who received, 
kept and paid out the public moneys, were subjects of 
much contention between the governor and the lower 
house. The appointment and control of the treasurer, 
or treasurers, were of great importance to both parties, 
and to the efficiency of the whole fiscal administration. 

i Davis, 1773, 496-97; C. R. VIII, 450, 463, 471, 496; IX, 65, 67-69, 
72-75, 134, 221-22, 275, 278. 

2C. R. IX, preface, p. xv; McRee's Iredell I, 14-15. 

sSwann, 16, 80, 241-44, 343, 355-59; Davis, 1765, II, 111; MS. Laws. 



Elsewhere the conflicts which arose from these have 
been discussed. Here they will be considered solely 
for the purpose of showing what the policy of the 
colonists, as manifested through the lower house, was 
in this particular. As early as 1715 there was a law 
requiring public treasurers to render to the assembly 
accounts of all moneys received or disbursed by them, 
and this was in force as late as 1752, and probably much 
later. The assembly throughout the royal period 
passed acts appointing these officers, defining their 
duties, and prescribing the methods of the collection 
and disbursement of public funds, whether by sheriffs 
or treasurers, or by both ; 2 and these laws afford abund- 
ant evidence to the effect that the assembly exercised 
practical control in all such matters. 

The taxes were of two kinds, direct taxes and cus- 
toms duties. Between 1713 and 1771 direct taxes were 
levied at least fourteen times on polls, twice on land, 
and once on law suits. Customs duties were levied 
twice on the importation of general merchandise and at 
least six times on the importation of liquors, wines and 
rum. A tonnage duty was at several times collected 
for the purpose of supplying a public magazine of 
ammuntion. 2 

As taxation was frequently resorted to, and as it was 
the source of much of the public revenue, one would 
think that the provincial executive and legislature 

iSwann, 39, 85, 97, 116, 130, 247-50, 307, 327-29, 341, 363-64; Davis, 
1765, II, 60-70, 113, 335-61; Davis, 1773, 342, 405-07, 490, 543, 545; 
MS. Laws. 

2 C. R. Ill, 189, 485; IV, 576-77; VI, 1309; Swann, 16, 80, 83, 184, 
187, 241-44, 266-70, 342-43, 355-59; Davis, 1765, II, 18-23, 111-17, 
189-92, 220-23; Davis, 1773, 426, 490, 496-97; MS. Laws. 


would give most serious consideration to the method 
and machinery of their assessment and collection. 
Such, however, does not appear to have been the case. 
As a rule, the securing of the funds was the chief 
object, little attention being given as to how this should 
be done. To be sure, the sheriffs and the treasurers, 
to whom were entrusted the listing of taxables and the 
collecting of taxes, were in a general way instructed as 
to their duties and powers, though not at times very 
specifically. So also were the collectors of the customs 
duties. In selecting the tax on polls as the chief source 
of revenue the provincial officers and the legislature 
were acting upon the ideas of taxation then in general 
vogue, though not so much upon the correct idea, the 
ability to pay. To have nothing but a uniform poll tax 
was very unfair, especially to the poorer classes, and 
this unfairness was recognized by the assembly. In 
defining what a taxable was, who should pay a poll tax, 
it attempted to distribute the burdens of such a sys- 
tem as much as possible upon those who were able to 
bear them. It acted upon the assumption that the 
number of slaves owned by any one person was for the 
most part a fair statement of his wealth ; and upon this 
assumption it passed acts defining a taxable, the act 
of 1750 being the most complete of these. According 
to this act a taxable was every white man of sixteen 
years of age, every negro, mulatto or mustee, and every 
other person of blood mixed to the fourth generation 
of twelve years of age. By such a definition of a tax- 
able many of the burdens of a poll tax were placed 
upon the wealthy class, the slave-holding class. 1 

iC. R. Ill, 187; Swann, 85, 180-82, 320-21; Davis, 1765, II, 202-07. 


The Judicial System and Administration. 

The executive and legislative features of the royal 
administration of North Carolina, in their functions 
and workings, have been under consideration and dis- 
cussion. Connected with these there is always the 
judicial feature. To find out how this phase of the 
provincial government worked itself out and what were 
its relations to the crown, the colonial executive and the 
legislature, is the problem of this chapter. This fea- 
ture, as well as the legislative aspect of the province's 
political life, was to a large extent, theoretically at 
least, under the control of the executive ; and all three 
of these were more or less under the direction of the 
crown. This threefold system was developed to a 
considerable extent under the proprietors. It was 
copied from the old English system, and was kept up 
with slight changes under the royal administration of 
the province. 

As we have seen, the crown appointed and controlled 
the chief of the executive and legislative departments 
— the governor. It also appointed the chief justice 
and more or less defined his powers and duties, thus 
placing the whole system of justice under many re- 
straints. Such an officer was to a large extent inde- 
pendent of the governor, though in a general way he 



was under the supervision of the chief executive. The 
subordinate officials in the department of justice were, 
on the other hand, largely under the direction and con- 
trol of the executive and the legislature. 1 What then 
were the policies of the crown and of the representa- 
tives of the colonists toward this feature of govern- 
ment? What forms did this feature assume? 

The head of the system was, in theory, the governor, 
he being the crown's chief representative in the prov- 
ince. However, he was largely hedged in by limita- 
tions. He had the general supervision of the adminis- 
tration of justice, acting in accord with his instructions 
from England. Not only was he under certain restric- 
tions concerning the workings of the system, but also in 
regard to what privileges he should grant to the colon- 
ists. 2 With the governor as the general supervisor, the 
crown gave to the province courts of exchequer, admir- 
alty, chancery, superior pleas and grand sessions, oyer 
and terminer, inferior pleas and quarter sessions, and 
of magistrates ; and this system which was established 
by the crown was in many respects like that under the 

The court of exchequer has been considered under 
the territorial system, being a court for the trial of 
cases arising from the crown's revenues, which were 
to a large extent obtained from lands. As we have 
seen, this court did practically no business, as the chief 

iC. R. Ill, 102-04, 496-98; V, 1104, 1123-24; VII, 137-42; VIII, 

2C. R. Ill, 102-04, 496-98; V, 1104, 1123-24; VII, 137-42; VIII, 


justice of the province demanded that such cases be 
passed upon by the general court, over which he was 
the presiding officer. Prior to 1696 there was no ad- 
miralty court in the province and the work of such a 
nature was done by the general court. The admiralty 
court was now erected by the crown, even though the 
patentees made the claim that, by their charters, the 
powers of erecting it were given to themselves. The 
governor was made vice admiral, and the admiralty 
office in England appointed a judge, register, marshal 
and advocate. Whether this court continued in opera- 
tion throughout the remaining part of the proprietary 
period it is impossible to say with accuracy, though 
probably it did. Its records of proceedings during the 
proprietary and royal administrations are for the most 
part lacking. This court was in fact not a provincial 
institution. It was at no time under the control of 
the officers of the province, but always under the direc- 
tion of the board of admiralty of England. 1 On the 
other hand, the chancery court was exclusively a pro- 
vincial establishment, and so were all the courts men- 
tioned above excepting the admiralty. It, like the 
courts of exchequer and admiralty, was the creation of 
the crown, not of the legislature of the colony. Though 
not erected by the assembly, still a few acts were passed 
by it looking toward its regulation. This was one of 
the oldest of the province's judicial establishments, 
coming in almost as early as the proprietary govern- 
ment. But it was not in session regularly at many 
different times. It was composed of the governor and 

» C. R. I, 471-73, 490, 510; III, 82; IV, 223-24; VII, 459-60, 498. 


at least five councillors, having also a clerk and at times 
a master in high chancery. A court of such a com- 
position was not easy to get together, and consequently 
it did not meet regularly. To correct this defect Gov- 
ernor Martin, in 1771, made an attempt to secure from 
the authorities in England a very substantial modifica- 
tion of its composition. He asked that the governor 
alone, or that the governor assisted by two or three 
masters in chancery, should hold its sessions. This 
court was in a general way one of equity, not of law, 
but as to the exact nature of many of its cases we can 
not speak with certainty, its meagre records bearing 
indefinite testimony. 1 In theory it was also the highest 
court of appeal; in actual practice this position be- 
longed to the superior court. 

At the head of the regular law courts was the chief 
justice, an officer appointed by the crown's warrant and 
at the crown's pleasure. His powers and duties were 
specified in the commission which was issued to him, 
from the crown, upon his appointment. The legisla- 
ture for the most part had little influence over him. It 
did, however, secure the insertion of certain clauses in 
the acts erecting superior courts, which placed restric- 
tions upon him in the discharge of his duties. It 
could also make complaints concerning his official con- 
duct, and had the power to try him for misconduct. 
But upon the whole, the chief justice was independent, 
not only of the legislature, but also of the executive. 
This position was one of great dignity and influence 

iC. E. Ill, 150; IV, 44; V, 823-24, 1085; VI, 75, 1042; VIII, 37; 
IX, 280, 299-300; Swann, 6, 225, 228. 


and for the most part it was filled by men of intelli- 
gence and ability. Among these were : William Smith, 
John Palin, William Little, Daniel Hamner, John 
Montgomery, Enoch Hall, Eleazer Allen, Peter Henley, 
James Hassell, Charles Berry, and Martin Howard. 1 
It should be noted that several of these were also coun- 
cillors, as such having much executive power, and as 
councillors were also members of the legislature. By 
such an arrangement the executive, legislative and 
judicial departments were by no means separate and 
distinct. This condition brought on much criticism 
from the more democratic elements and it was one 
against which the makers of the state constitution, 
when the province was transformed into a state, made 
provision. They in their reaction went so far as not 
only to make these separate in their composition but 
also to place the executive and judicial departments 
under the practical control of the legislature. 2 

Connected with the chief justice in the superior 
court of pleas and grand sessions, afterward called the 
general or supreme court, was another officer appointed 
by the crown— the attorney general. He, like the chief 
justice, being appointed by the king's warrant, held 
his office at the pleasure of the crown, though his official 
conduct might be called into account by the governor 
and council. 3 Both of these officers, being crown 

i State Records I, 9, 74, 112-13, 132-33, 142-43, 209; C. R. Ill, 85, 
86, 136, 416, 423, 552-57, 629; IV, 466-67, 637; V, 962, 991; VI, 66-67, 
581; IX, 1018-20. 

2C. R. Ill, 85-86; IV, 470; VII, 137; X, 1007-08. 

3 State Records I, 7-8, 109, 136-37, 144, 212; C. R. Ill, 239; V, 614; 
VI, 51, 65-66, 568-69, 1067, 1072-73; VII, 444, 523. 


officials, were supposed to receive their salaries out of 
the crown's revenues, quit-rents and other territorial 
dues, but as these were inefficiently collected, they were 
poorly paid. In addition to their salaries from the 
crown they were entitled to certain fees which were 
established by the assembly; and the legislature at 
times granted them special allowances. These were 
always made for short terms, their renewal being 
wholly at the discretion of the assembly. By such a 
provision these officers, who were theoretically respon- 
sible to the crown alone, became servants of the 
assembly. 1 

What were the composition, powers and workings of 
this supreme court over which the chief justice pre- 
sided! Under the proprietors it was made up of the 
chief justice and two or more assistants and had the 
powers and duties of the king's bench, the common 
pleas and the exchequer courts in England. During 
the proprietary period the chief justice was appointed 
and commissioned by the patentees, while the assistants 
were appointed by the governor and council. The 
times and places of the meetings were for the most 
part arranged by acts of the assembly. When the 
crown assumed control of the province no great modifi- 
cations were made in this court. Now the chief justice 
received his appointment and instructions from the 
crown, and he alone could hold the supreme sessions; 
his assistants were simple justices of the peace, having 

•C. R. Ill, 197-98, 278, 283; IV, 982; V, 16, 20-22; VIII, 814; 
Swann, 6, 227, 250-58, 304, 325; Davis, 1765, II, 130, 241; Davis, 1773, 


no powers as assistants apart from the chief justice. 
Prior to 1739 this general court had met at Edenton, 
but now, by an act of the assembly, provision was made 
for its meeting at several places, for its becoming a 
circuit court. Such a provision proved efficient, and 
in 1746 the principle of this court holding its sessions 
in circuit was permanently established. By this act of 
1746 the whole system of the law courts was remodeled, 
and especially in its administration. Newbern was 
made the center, in the place of Edenton which now 
in consequence of the great growth of the population of 
the province, especially to the south and west, was in 
one corner of the province. At Newbern this court 
must hold at least two annual sessions. The chief jus- 
tice was to have associated with him three associate 
justices, and these were to have more power than the old 
assistants. In his absence they could hold the court, 
hear and determine the cases presented to it, though all 
processes issuing from the general court must be signed 
by the chief justice. These changes not only brought 
greater efficiency into the judicial administration, but 
they also gave the assembly more power over it, as they 
were introduced by it rather than by the crown. 1 

Now all writs and processes should be issued from, 
and filed in, the office of the general court at Newbern, 
and so must all pleadings and proceedings, whether of 
the central court or of those on the circuit. However, 
a trial could take place at Newbern or at the other 
places on the circuit during any of the nisi prius terms. 

*C. R. Ill, 150, 215, 251, 423; IV, 45, 734; V, 569; Swann, 91, 224, 
228, 233. 


Three places were established by the act for the hold- 
ing of these sessions of the circuit— Edenton, Halifax 
and Wilmington. Such a plan of dividing the province 
into districts and of erecting courts in each greatly 
facilitated the administration of justice and at the same 
time relieved the colonists of the burdens of traveling 
a long distance. 1 This new system and its administra- 
tion were provided for by an act of the assembly, and 
so were the associate justices. The fact that the crown 
allowed this act to go into operation and to continue 
for several years as the basis of the supreme court is 
strong evidence that the legislature was more and more 
gaining control over the judicial system and adminis- 
tration. During 1760, another act was passed by the 
assembly which provided for general sessions, in the 
main of the same nature as those of 1746. In the 
clauses appointing associate justices and denning their 
qualifications and term of office the assembly was 
assuming unto itself much more power over the admin- 
istration of justice than it had hitherto done. This act 
was disallowed by the crown because of these clauses. 
By it associate justices were appointed qaamdiu se bene 
gesserint, while the chief justice held at the pleasure of 
the king. Appointments for good behavior, which the 
act provided for, meant the taking from the crown of 
the power of control over the associate justices, meant 
the practical independence of the judiciary of the 
crown, and that the legislature was to exercise the con- 
trolling influence over justice. 2 

iSwann, 224-40. 

2C. R. VI, 280, 587-81; Swann, 324-26; Davis, 1765, II, 188. 


Though the act of 1760 was repealed by the crown, 
the assembly during 1762 passed another act which in 
many particulars was the same as the acts of 1746 and 
of 1760 ; and this was allowed by the crown to go into 
operation. By it the province was divided into five 
districts for superior courts of pleas and grand ses- 
sions and the method of their procedure was prescribed. 
This act kept the old fourfold divisions for the east- 
ern part of the province, with Edenton, Halifax, New- 
bern and Wilmington as the centers, but it went beyond 
the provisions of the act of 1739. The great growth of 
the colony westward demanded that a district be made 
out of this portion, and a western district was erected, 
with Salisbury as its center. The circuit courts in the 
four eastern districts were to be held by the chief jus- 
tice and one associate justice, whom the governor had 
the power of appointing. But to the Salisbury district, 
being very extensive in area, covering almost as much 
territory as the four eastern divisions together, was 
assigned a special judge of its own. He had the full 
power of holding the grand sessions in the absence of 
the chief justice, though he was to act as an assistant 
judge whenever the chief justice was present. By the 
act of its erection, this court on the circuit was given 
the power over all pleas of the crown (treason, felony 
and other crimes committed in breach of the peace), 
suits in common pleas, legacies and estates of in- 
testates, whether original or on appeal from the in- 
ferior courts by means of a writ of error. This defini- 
tion of its jurisdiction was by no means new, for such 
had been the jurisdiction of the supreme court from 


the first of the royal administration. But by this act 
the control of the legislature over justice was extended 
beyond that as provided for in the act of 1746. The 
provision which allowed the associate justice to hold 
court in the absence of the chief justice restricted the 
latter 's powers to a very considerable degree. Not 
only did the assembly restrict the chief justice, but it 
also placed limits upon the powers of the attorney- 
general. It likewise prescribed the frequency and 
duration of the sessions, the manner in which suits 
should be brought, witnesses and other persons sum- 
moned, how deposition should be taken and who could 
bear testimony. 1 

The system as provided in this act proved to be fairly 
effective and for the most part satisfactory to all par- 
ties. It was reenacted with slight changes two years 
later, and when this act of 1764 expired a new one was 
passed, during 1767, with many of the provisions of the 
acts of 1762 and 1764 in it. By the act of 1767 another 
district was established, due to an increase of popu- 
lation, with Hillsboro as its center, and two associate 
justices were appointed in the place of one. 2 Early in 
1773, when this act was about to expire, the assembly 
passed another. It divided the province into six dis- 
tricts for the sessions of the supreme court and defined 
their jurisdiction and proceedings. This act, while for 
the most part with the same provisions as the former 
one, contained two important additions. It provided 
that no suit should, except on appeal, be brought before 

i Davis, 1765, II, 238-56. 

2 Davis, 1765, II, 353-54; Davis, 1773, 372-86. 


these sessions in cases of debts or damages of smaller 
amounts than fifty pounds, the plaintiff and defendant 
residing in the same district, and of twenty-five pounds, 
the parties residing in different districts. It also made 
provision for the attachment of the goods of persons 
living outside of the province. To these two provis- 
ions the governor offered a serious protest. But the 
act containing them passed after a long and bitter con- 
flict and in spite of Governor Martin's opposition. 
However, it contained a clause to the effect that it 
should not go into operation until the crown had passed 
upon it. By the limitations placed upon the supreme 
court, which was theoretically under the control of the 
crown, and by the extension of the jurisdiction of the 
inferior courts, which were largely under the influence 
of the legislature, the assembly was more and more ex- 
tending its influence over the administration of justice. 
By its claims concerning the attachment of the goods 
of foreigners it was practically declaring itself inde- 
pendent of the crown. It was natural, therefore, that 
the crown should refuse to allow such an act to go into 
operation, even though for a short period. 1 

During 1774 Governor Martin rejected a bill erecting 
superior courts, chiefly because it contained the clauses 
which have been mentioned above ; and the attempt of 
the next year on the part of the legislature looking to 
the same object met with no greater success. The prov- 
ince had now for three years been without a supreme 
court, and the needs for such a court were very press- 

i Davis, 1773, 511-30; C. R. IX, 442, 446-47, 579, 583, 586-87, 670, 
619, 685, 707-08, 814. 


ing, but neither party was willing to yield its claims 
and demands. As will be seen in another connection, 
the conflicts arising from these became very serious, 
constituting one of the important causes of the down- 
fall of the royal administration. The legislature had 
by degrees assumed more and more control over the 
superior courts, which at the beginning were largely 
under the direction of the crown, and this had for the 
most part been permitted by the crown until 1773. 
Now the assembly practically asked that the higher, as 
well as the lower courts, be under its control. 1 

Below the supreme court was the court of oyer, ter- 
miner and general jail delivery, and this came down 
from the proprietary period. It was a criminal court 
and was composed of the chief justice, two or more 
assistants, members of the council, and the other high 
officials of the province. Upon the crown assuming 
control of the provincial administration, this court was 
continued and the governor was instructed to call at 
least two sessions of it yearly. Burrington and John- 
ston in obedience to their instructions and upon the 
advice of the council, issued commissions to the chief 
justice, the assistants, and the councillors, authorizing 
them to hold such sessions ; the chief justice and any 
three of the others were to constitute a quorum. In 
1746 it was provided, by an act of the assembly, that 
the governor should commission the chief justice alone 
to hold two yearly sessions of oyer and terminer in the 
three districts of the superior court. This act also pro- 
vided the manner in which trials should be brought and 
specified the crimes in the trial of which these sessions 

i C. It. IX, 862-63, 926-28, 988, 1190-95, 1201-11; MS. Laws. 


had jurisdiction, declaring them to be treasons, felonies, 
and misdemeanors. Such provisions converted the 
general conrt on the circuits into a special court of oyer 
and terminer for the trial of criminals. These special 
sessions could not be held unless the governor issued 
special commissions to this effect. 1 Here, as in the 
case of the general courts, the legislature was extend- 
ing its influence. The crown at first allowed it, but in 
1754 another act was passed concerning these special 
courts and the crown repealed it, on what grounds we 
can not say. However, this did not put and end to the 
attempts on the part of the assembly to control these 
criminal sessions. During 1756 an act was passed to 
this effect, the chief provisions of which were in 1762, 
and again in 1764 and 1767, incorporated into the act 
erecting the general or superior courts of pleas. Ac- 
cording to the act of 1762 the chief justice and one or 
more associates should hold criminal sessions on the 
circuit, under the authority of the governor's special 
commission, when he and the council deemed it neces- 
sary. When the act of 1767 erecting general courts ex- 
pired, during 1773, the provisions for special criminal 
sessions did also. Inasmuch as no further act for 
superior courts could be passed, the governor, with the 
concurrence of the council, issued commissions for such 
criminal sessions upon his own authority. The chief 
executive had this power all the time, though the 
assembly was not inclined to recognize it. But from 
1746 to 1773 it appears that he had not exercised it ; he 
had allowed the assembly to make provisions for such 

iC. R. Ill, 105, 150, 251, 256, 416; IV, 3, 48, 218, 224; Swann, 


courts, he in a formal way issuing the commissions. 
While he, during 1773, provided for these sessions in- 
dependently of the assembly, still this was apparently 
done as an emergency measure. However, it was 
severely criticised and denounced as a usurpation on 
the part of the governor. The legislature during the 
next year regained its control over these sessions.. 
Now the court of oyer and terminer was much more 
definitely defined, its powers and jurisdiction being 
quite specifically stated in the act, 1 Governor Martin 
gave his assent to such an act, most probably by virtue 
of the necessity of circumstances and to an extent to 
conciliate the representatives of the colonists. 

In the trial of cases which came before the criminal 
sessions of the general court the jury system was in 
constant use, both the grand and the petit. It came 
down from the proprietary period, being established 
by their instructions and by acts of the assembly, after 
the old English model. Practically no changes were 
made in the system and its regulation, as established 
under the patentees, until 1748. Now, by an act, jurors 
were provided for in all cases, criminal or civil; the 
method of their selection, their duties, privileges and 
remuneration, were all provided for. This act meant 
much greater efficiency in the administration of the sys- 
tem, and its principles were also incorporated in the 
acts of 1760, 1762, 1764, 1767 and 1773. 2 

i Davis, 1765, II, 34, 80, 255; MS. Laws; C. R. V, 570, 760; VII, 
842-46; VIII, 185, 235-40, 490, 507, 528-32; IX, 607, 641, 673-75, 

2C. E. Ill, 106, 152, 191; IV, 745; Swann, 263-65; Davis, 1765, II, 
34, 269-72, 356-58; Davis, 1773, 388-91, 548-50; MS. Laws. 


The lower or inferior courts of pleas and quarter 
sessions were, as in the case of the superior pleas, in 
operation when the province became royal. Under the 
patentees, these had been held by the justices of the 
peace, whom the governor appointed. They were held 
in several sessions yearly and were for the trial of civil 
cases where the amount involved was less than fifty 
pounds. In addition to its purely judicial functions, 
this precinct court had also the administration of the 
estates of orphans and the supervision of highways 
and bridges. The assembly here, as in the case of the 
superior courts, had much influence. Under the pro- 
prietors, at least during the latter part of their admin- 
istration, it established and regulated the inferior ses- 
sions. The system of the patentees was allowed to 
continue until 1746. Now the whole judicial system 
and administration were reorganized, the superior as 
well as the inferior courts. By the act of 1746 the 
precinct or county courts were much more fully formu- 
lated. Four sessions yearly must be held in each 
county by three justices of the peace, who were ap- 
pointed by the governor and council. These, when in 
session, had the power of hearing and deciding all 
matters in common law wherein the amount in litigation 
was above forty shillings and not more than twenty 
pounds, actions of trespass and ejectment and writs of 
formedon being excepted. They also could hear petty 
larcenies, assaults, batteries, trespasses, breaches of 
the peace, and all other offences of an inferior nature, 
forgery and perjury being excepted. They were also 
to hear all cases of legacies, intestate estates and mat- 


ters concerning orphans. From these courts, provis- 
ion was made for appeal to the superior court. The 
prosecuting officer in these county sessions was not the 
attorney-general, as in the case of the general court or 
the oyer and terminer sessions, but a deputy appointed 
for each county by the attorney-general. 1 

In 1754 by an act, the assembly not only defined the 
powers and duties of the inferior sessions, but also en- 
larged their jurisdiction. This act was repealed by the 
crown. That this was done because of the extension 
of the jurisdiction we can not say with absolute cer- 
tainty, though most probably it was for this reason. 
These sessions were almost wholly under the control of 
the provincial officers, and especially of the legislature, 
and to extend their jurisdiction meant further limita- 
tion of the superior courts, which were to a large extent 
under the direction of the crown. But the repeal of 
the act of 1754 was not sufficient to keep the legislature 
from bringing the matter under further consideration. 
In 1760 an act was passed which again extended the 
jurisdiction of the inferior courts, now to cases in- 
volving fifty pounds. The crown, on the other hand, 
was not disposed to yield to such extension of the in- 
fluence of the colonists, and this act also was repealed. 
It was, however, in operation for a time, how long we 
can not say. The assembly now gave up, at least tem- 
porarily, its demands on this point and passed, during 
1762, an act which limited the jurisdiction of inferior 
sessions to twenty pounds. However, at the same time 
it passed another act providing for the trial by these 

i C. R. I, 574; IT, 526, 570; III, 150, 191, 194; Swann, 51-52, 235-39. 


sessions of the cases involving as much as fifty pounds, 
which had been begun but not completed according to 
the act of 1760. The provisions of the act of 1762 were 
continued, though with slight modifications, in the acts 
of 1764 and 1768. 1 During 1773, the question of ex- 
tending the jurisdiction of the lower courts again came 
up. After much dispute concerning it between the 
lower house and the governor, another act was passed 
providing that the inferior courts should have jurisdic- 
tion in cases involving amounts as large as fifty pounds. 
Governor Martin gave his assent to such an act, being 
driven to it by force of conditions. The crown repealed 
it. It was willing to allow the officers of the courts to 
be appointed by the provincial officials, and that their 
powers, duties and methods of procedure be defined by 
the assembly. It was also willing that within small 
limits these sessions be practically independent of the 
crown, but it would not allow this independence to be 
great in its extent. 2 

Below the quarter sessions there was a still smaller 
court, the court of one or two magistrates, the lowest of 
all the judicial departments. It had jurisdiction in 
actions for smaller amounts than those prescribed for 
the regular inferior sessions. This session of the 
magistrates was perhaps one of the oldest of the pro- 
vincial courts. In the laws of 1715-1716 there was one 
making provision for such sessions, and this was most 
probably a reenactment of a much older law or custom. 

i Davis, 1765, II, 34, 111, 188, 256-69, 354-56, 386-88; MS. Laws; 
C. R. V, 298-300; VI, 588-89. 

*C. R. IX, 583, 587, 619, 670; Davis, 1773, 523-26; MS. Laws. 


This court was also provided for by acts of 1729 and 
1741. Each precinct or county had several magistrates, 
appointed by the governor and council, and these by 
their sessions had much to do in keeping the peace and 
in administering justice in an elementary way. 1 

For each of these courts, excepting those of the 
magistrates, there was need of a special officer who 
should keep the records of the sessions and make re- 
ports whenever they were demanded— a clerk. This 
clerk in addition to being a purely administrative official 
had some judicial duties. The clerk of the pleas of 
the crown was the highest of these officers. Prior to 
1761-1762 the secretary of the province was also clerk 
of the pleas of the crown, there being no separate officer 
for these, at least so far as the records indicate. 
After 1762 a clerk was appointed by the crown, with 
a tenure of office depending upon its pleasure. But he 
appointed the clerks of the county courts during good 
behavior. It was frequently claimed, and there is some 
evidence substantiating such a claim, that by appoint- 
ing clerks for good conduct the clerk of the pleas of 
the crown obtained a large amount of money in the 
shape of a bonus. While the clerks of the county 
courts were appointed by the clerk of the pleas of the 
crown and were, therefore, more or less amenable to 
him, still they were under the general direction of the 
magistrates of the county, being by them placed under 
a bond for their official conduct. How the clerks of the 
sessions of the county were appointed before 1762 we 
can not state with certainty. Perhaps the secretary 

1 Swann, 77, 145-46; C. R. Ill, 183; III-IX, passim. 


did it during a part of the time. The assembly by an 
act of 1740 proposed to appoint them, but this act was 
repealed by the crown. 1 Who appointed the clerks of 
the general court on the circuit prior to 1746 we can- 
not say, though most probably the chief justice. At 
least this was the case after 1746. By the acts of the 
assembly of 1746 and 1760 he was authorized to appoint 
a clerk for each district of the circuit. These clerks 
were under bond to the crown for their official conduct, 
just as the clerks of the county courts were to the jus- 
tices of the peace of the counties. After 1762, when 
a separate clerk of the pleas of the crown was ap- 
pointed, he claimed the right of appointing the clerks 
of the superior court on the circuit. This was opposed 
to the provisions of the acts of the assembly which 
authorized the chief justice to do this, and the matter 
was referred to the authorities in England. What de- 
cision was rendered we do not know, though it is prob- 
able that the provisions of the assembly were allowed. 2 
Such were the different courts and their officers, and 
such were their jurisdiction, functions, powers and 
duties. What their actual procedure was we can not 
state with very much certainty. The records bear 
abundant testimony that the whole system was neither 
permanent nor very definite. It could be changed 
rather easily, and it was, therefore, frequently modified. 
As a rule the acts erecting the different courts were for 

iC. R. VI, 564, 689-90; VII, 114; IX, 264-67, 981, 1004-05; State 
Records I, 8, 120-21; Swann, 110. 

«Swann, 227; Davis, 1765, II, 240; Davis, 1773, 373, 440; C. R. VI, 
1001; VIII, 19. 


a short period only, thus permitting the administration 
of justice to become the subject of frequent contention 
between the different parties, always allowing the pos- 
sibility of having no courts at all. That the system and 
administration of justice should under these conditions 
be rather inefficient and even chaotic at times is not at 
all strange ; it was perfectly natural. But most prob- 
ably the royal government was in this respect about 
as successful as it was in all the others. We find a 
condition of inefficiency, and even chaos, in the execu- 
tive, legislative and judicial departments, and we find 
the same condition in the administration of territorial, 
fiscal and military affairs. This was due in part to the 
lack of intelligence on the part of the crown, to a lack 
of intelligence, industry and character on the part of 
the crown officials in the province, as well as to a lack of 
intelligence and energy on the part of the representa- 
tives of the colonists. 


The System of Defence. 

Every province or state must have some system of 
defence, some means of military protection against 
enemies from without, as well as against insurrection 
and rioting within. North Carolina, whether under 
the proprietors or crown, had her system, and this was 
very similar to that of the other English colonies. 
This, as well as the other departments, had its changes 
and development, depending much upon the disposi- 
tion of the Indians and the French. The four inter- 
colonial wars between the English and the French 
colonists mark distinct periods in the development of 
the system of defence in almost every one of the pro- 
vinces. The provincial system was to be used not only 
for local defence, but also for carrying out in great 
emergencies the British colonial policy, which was dis- 
tinctly one of expansion. North Carolina, as well as 
the other colonies, was called upon for aid to such a 

With some modifications the following system was 
more or less in operation, and it was theoretically in 
force throughout the colonial period. As we have 
seen, the governor, or the president of the council in 
his absence, was ex officio the commander-in-chief. It 
was his duty to levy, arm and muster all of the able- 



bodied men of the province, and whenever it became 
necessary, to use them in putting down insurrections or 
riots within the colony, in defending the frontiers 
against invaders, and upon emergencies in aiding the 
other colonies. It was also his duty to appoint all offi- 
cers needed in mustering or leading to war, the council 
always aiding him in this, to build and equip forts, to 
execute martial law whenever it was deemed necessary, 
and to keep the board of trade in England informed as 
to the whole system and its workings. Both the system 
and his administration of it were to be according to the 
laws of England and the acts of the provincial assem- 
bly, in the passage of which he had much influence. 1 
As a rule, the governor did not go into the field as 
the chief military officer. This position was held by 
the colonel, lieutenant-colonel or major. The officer in 
command of the company was the captain, and under 
him were the adjutant, lieutenant, ensign, corporal and 
privates. 2 

The system of defence was almost wholly of the 
militia type, excepting during the fourth intercolonial 
war. All freemen and men-servants from the age of 
sixteen to sixty, unless exempted by the laws, were re- 
quired to organize and drill, as well as keep themselves 
supplied with arms and a certain amount of ammuni- 
tion. They were to be listed and apportioned into 
companies annually, and these must meet at muster and 
drill at least four times yearly. The regiment with all 

iC. R. Ill, 66-73, 112-13; IV, 550-55; VI, 476-78, 803, 808-10, 831, 
1090; VII, 333, 385, 552, 926-27; VIII, 192-93; Law Revisals, passim. 
2 Swann, 215-19. 


its companies must perform the same duty once a year. 
The penalty for neglect was twenty pounds for each 
occurrence upon the colonel and five upon the captain, 
with a smaller amount for the private. There were 
some exemptions from muster, but none when actual 
war came on ; and the principle of these changed little 
during the whole period, being for the most part upon 
the grounds of public service. Ministers of the Angli- 
can church, members of the council and of the lower 
house of the legislature, the secretary and the attorney- 
general of the province, practicing attorneys, ard those 
having served as field officers or captains of the militia, 
were allowed this privilege. During a part of the 
period physicians, clerks of the courts of justice, jus- 
tices of the peace and attendants at public mills or 
ferries, were given the same immunities. When actual 
war came all able-bodied men of the legal age, whether 
free or slave, whether exempted from musters or not, 
might be called into the field. When once in the army 
mutiny and desertion were to be punished by a court 
martial. The composition of the court was provided 
for by the legislature. While the provincial govern- 
ment made these requirements upon the colonists, it on 
the other hand provided compensation, by establishing 
a pension system for the wounded and for the families 
of the killed. 1 

Such was the system in outline, changing only 
slightly throughout the colonial period after 1715. 
From 1663 to 1715 what system there was— exactly 
what it was we do not know— was very poorly carried 

1 Swann, 215-19. 


out. It is most probable that during these years what- 
ever plan there was depended more upon the constantly 
changing wishes of the proprietors than upon specific 
acts of the provincial legislature. The proprietors by 
their charters had all the powers and duties of a cap- 
tain-general in England, and in 1667 they conferred 
these upon their governor, giving him the title of com- 
mander-in-chief. He was instructed to organize com- 
panies for defence, internal and external. 1 Early in 
the period the proprietors instituted the policy of grant- 
ing lands upon the freest terms to settlers who would 
bring with them a certain amount of equipment for 
defence. 2 But in spite of this provision and of the 
fact that the colony had located within itself several 
Indian tribes, and consequently had great need of a 
system of defence, very little was done for an efficient 
one prior to 1715. As we have seen, the province was 
frequently under weak and careless governors or 
deputy governors, and much disorder prevailed at 
many different times. As a matter of fact the system 
of defence under these was neglected to a great degree, 
mustering and drilling being almost unknown. The 
anarchy of the period 1705-1711 was so great and the 
defence so poor that the Tuscarora war left the prov- 
ince almost in desolation and ruin, coming at a time 
when one portion was arrayed against another, when 
provincial patriotism was almost gone. Though the 
Tuscaroras had only twelve hundred fighting men, still 
so weak and poor was the defence that even this small 

iC. R. I, 31, 112, 169, 232-33, 239, 361, 389. 
2 C. R. I, 45, 169, et seq. 


force could not be successfully met; the colony would 
have been ruined had not aid arrived from South Caro- 
lina. 1 

The disastrous effects of this war demonstrated to 
the proprietors and colonists alike that their whole 
system of defence must be reorganized and more care- 
fully executed. This was to be done by the act of 
1715-1716, which was in part a revisal of an old one. 
By this, mustering and training were to be looked after 
carefully, and consequently the system would be greatly 
improved. This act became the real foundation of the 
system for the whole period of the royal administra- 
tion; the militia was now placed upon a definite foot- 
ing. For several years after the passage of this act 
because of the fear of another Indian war musters and 
drills were held according to its provisions. But soon 
the time came when the Tuscaroras left the province to 
join their kindred tribes in New York. Then the In- 
dians were no longer strong enough to be at all dan- 
gerous to the colonists and the provisions of the act of 
1715-1716 were allowed to go unenforced. The act 
itself, however, remained unchanged until 1740, then 
being modified only slightly. Again it was to be 
changed, though only in some minor points, six years 
later. This act of 1746 was so typical of the whole 
period that its provisions have been given in the general 
outline of the system which has already been described. 2 
Three years later when war appeared to be very dis- 

i C. R. I, passim; Hawks II, 171-72, 390-400, 519-53; Mill's Statistics 
of South Carolina, 223. 

2Swann, 6, 215-19; MS. Laws. 


tant, even when it was hoped that it would not come 
again in a long time, the militia law was changed into 
a less rigid one. Two musters of the companies were 
now to he held yearly in the place of four, and the death 
penalty could no longer be applied by the court 
martial. 1 But the expectations of a long peace were 
to be disappointed; North Carolina was soon to take 
part in the fourth inter-colonial war, the longest and 
greatest one in its history as a province. As a result 
of this four militia acts were passed. Those of 1756 
and 1759 continued the system of 1746 with slight 
amendments, for the first time making provision for the 
militia to march out of the colony to the aid of her 
neighbors. According to the former laws it was to re- 
main in the province and to be used purely as a means 
of local defence. 2 In 1760 the principle of exemption 
from musters was extended. Now Presbyterian min- 
isters of regular churches, inspectors of public ware- 
houses, and overseers having under their care as many 
as six slaves, were to be added to the list which was 
arranged in 1746. It was extended again in 1762, to 
coroners and constables, in 1764 to school masters of at 
least ten pupils, to overseers of the public roads and 
pilots on the rivers, and in 1770 to Quakers, for a term 
of five years. 3 

The proprietors and the provincial assembly not only 
provided for a better system of militia after 1715 but 
also levied a tax upon all vessels bringing goods into 

i Swann, 305-06. 

2 Davis, 1765, II, 80, 167; MS. Laws. 

3 Davis, 1765, II, 192-97, 212, 281, 309-15; Davis, 1773, 345, 426, 
435-39; C. R. V, 291, 506, 538; IX, 176-77. 


the ports of the province for the purpose of establish- 
ing and maintaining a magazine of ammunition; and 
this was continued on far into the royal period. 1 For 
the support of such a magazine on the frontier, a tax 
was laid in 1743 upon all the taxables of the counties in 
which this should be located. 2 Something was done 
also for the coast defence. The first attempt to fortify 
this was in 1745 when the Spanish and French vessels 
were threatening it. Now an act was passed for build- 
ing a fort on the lower Cape Fear River. This was to 
be supplied with ammunition by a powder duty laid 
on imported goods. 3 Three years later the legislature 
appropriated a very considerable amount for the erec- 
tion and equipment of four forts along the sea-coast, 
but only two of these were ever constructed— Fort 
Johnston at the mouth of the Cape Fear Eiver and 
Fort Granville at Ocraeock, near the middle of the coast 
line. 4 Though these were built by 1755, they were of 
little service. They never had much of an equipment, 
and the expected attacks of the French fleet never came. 
During the latter part of 1755 an act was passed for 
erecting and equipping Fort Dobbs on the western 
frontier, to be used against the Indians. This was 
built during the next year and was of much service in 
defending the colonists in the western part of the 
province. 5 

iSwann, 16, 266; MS. Laws. 

«Swann, 184; MS. Laws. 

3 Swann, 199-201. 

♦Swann, 199-200; Davis, 1765, II, 143-47; C. R. IV, 922-23; V, 

5C. R. V, 157-60, 419-20, 570-71, 593-99, 638-39; Davis, 1765, II, 
60; MS. Laws; Waddell, 31-33. 


There was something of a semblance of a naval sta- 
tion for the province during the later part of its his- 
tory. As early as 1740 a request was made by the 
colonial officers for a man-of-war to be stationed off 
the coast, near the mouth of the Cape Fear Kiver. 
Whether this request was ever granted we do not know. 
In 1757 a twenty gun ship and a sloop were ordered to 
the province for the protection of the coast against 
pirates, but that they came there is no evidence. 
Sometime prior to this a man-of-war was ordered to be 
stationed at the mouth of the Cape Fear River, but 
Dobbs in 1757 stated that it had not been at this place 
more than ten days in three years. Ten years later 
the sloop Martin was in station off the coast, while in 
1775 the sloop Cruizer was in the Cape Fear River, 
possibly stationed there. 1 

Upon the grounds of efficiency not very much can be 
said to the credit of the system or of its administration. 
As we have seen, during the larger part of the pro- 
prietary period it was very poor. The proprietors 
through their officers in the province exercised a rather 
weak control over the colonists, as the colonists had 
little respect for the government imposed upon them. 
With this state of affairs an efficient system of defence 
was out of the question. The colonists, to be sure, had 
for the most part the required arms and ammunition, 
but muster and drill they did not, and to unite all of 
the forces even in great emergencies was almost im- 
possible. As has been stated, factional feeling and 

iC. R. IV, 478; V, 748, 792, 963; VI, 51-52, 522, 566-67, 734; VII, 
534, 795; X, 96-151; State Records I, 109-10, 134-35. 


bitterness were so great during the Carey insurrection 
that, when the Tuscarora war came on, union for de- 
fence, even of their lives and homes, could not be 
effected. The governor and council issued many ap- 
peals to the colonists, but in vain. The humiliating re- 
sults of such a war made the colonists ashamed of their 
conduct and drove them to the establishment of a better 
system of defence, especially to a more rigid execution 
of it. Further attacks by the Indians were expected 
for the next five years and this expectation greatly 
stimulated the spirit of union and of mustering. From 
this time to the end of the royal period there was a well- 
defined system, and this was more or less in operation. 
As this was largely formulated by the colonists in their 
legislature and as it had incorporated within itself 
much of their spirit, it received their support to a very 
considerable degree. Mustering was not, however, at 
all regular except under the fear of danger; from 1720 
to 1740, when there was little probability of attacks 
by Indians or invasions by the French or Spanish, 
meetings for drill were very seldom. However, from 
1740 to 1748 and again from 1755 to 1763, while war 
was either at hand or approaching, much attention was 
given to defence, both in shaping the system to meet 
the demands and in its proper execution. 1 

The militia for the larger part of the colonial period 
constituted the system of local defence. The proprie- 
tors had no army with which to protect their province 
and under the crown's administration the royal forces 

iC. R. Ill, 153, 433; IV, 243; V, 123-24, 570-71, 575-76, 603-04; 
VIII, 30-31. 


never at any time gave assistance to North Carolina. 
During the first fifty years the colony had no enemies 
excepting the Indians, and only one tribe of these was 
at all strong— the Tuscaroras. It consequently had 
little actual need of a military force, none until 1711- 
1713. When war came on the militia, being so poorly 
trained and the colonists so much divided, could not 
successfully meet a small Indian force and was not, 
therefore, able to protect the colonists or their property 
from devastation and ruin. This first test of the 
strength of the militia as a means of local defence was, 
therefore, very unfavorable. From the end of the Tus- 
carora war to the beginning of the fourth intercolonial 
struggle, in 1754, the militia was not called into the field 
for actual service in the defence of the province ; it was 
only for musters. By this time, however, the Chero- 
kees and Catawbas were becoming numerous and threat- 
ening on the western frontier, and some means of de- 
fence must be provided against them. The colonists in 
the western counties were too poor to provide for them- 
selves efficient defence and the legislature was called 
on for aid. In 1754 it voted one thousand pounds to be 
spent in the purchase of arms and ammunition for these 
counties, the frontiersmen themselves as militia being 
asked to supply the service. 1 But early in the next 
year it was seen that something more must be done, and 
three thousand pounds were granted for the purpose 
of raising and equipping a company of soldiers to be 
used in defending the frontier against the Indians. 2 

'Davis, 1765, II, 18-25. 

2 Davis, 1765, II, 35; MS. Laws. 



During the latter part of the same year another move- 
ment was made toward defence in the same locality, 
money being voted for the erection and equipment of a 
small fort. 1 When this was erected, it was seen that 
more soldiers must be stationed at or near it, and dur- 
ing 1756 appropriations were made for raising, equip- 
ping and paying two companies for this purpose. 2 
These were raised, and they, with the militia of the 
counties of Rowan, Anson and Orange, defended the 
frontier against the Indians. They during the fourth 
intercolonial war were in great agitation against the 
English, being stirred up by the French. 3 At the end 
of this war Fort Dobbs was allowed to go to ruin and 
the defence of the frontier was discontinued, as the 
Indians were very quiet and peaceful. 4 As we have 
seen, there were two forts on the coast— Johnston and 
Granville, which were erected by the beginning of the 
fourth intercolonial struggle. Although Fort Johnston 
was partially equipped and continued so to the end of 
the royal government, Granville was never a fort ex- 
cept in name and after 1763 was wholly abandoned. 5 

The provincial system was used also as a means of 
the British colonial defence, and much more at times 
for this than for local purposes. It was not, however, 
the militia as a rule which was employed in this defence, 

i Davis, 1765, II, 60; MS. Laws; C. R. V, 638-39. 

2 Davis, 1765, II, 80; C. R. V, 792. 

aWaddell, 64-66, C. R. V, 50; VI, 229-30. 

^ C. R. VII, 203. 

s Davis, 1765, II, 143-47; Iredell, 115-17; C. R. V, 18-19, 792, 934; 
VI, 830-31, 1255; VII, 40, 203, 245-46, 559-60, 863, 902; VIII, 30-31 
412, 574-611; IX, 44, 46, 171, 328, 869, 1204, 1221. 


but hired volunteers. In 1715 North Carolina sent sol- 
diers to aid South Carolina against the Indians. This 
was done largely as a return for the assistance which 
South Carolina had rendered during the Tuscarora 
war, 1 and was, therefore, not at the request of the 
crown. It was not until 1740 that the crown made its 
first demand upon the colony for aid to the general de- 
fence, at this time to be employed against the Spanish. 
The assembly gave great consideration to such a re- 
quest and granted four hundred soldiers, with commo- 
dities for their support and transportation. These 
with the troops furnished by Virginia and South Caro- 
lina for the same purpose made an ineffectual attack 
upon the Spanish stronghold in Florida— Saint Augus- 
tine—and in 1741 were transported to Jamaica, from 
whence they took part in the disastrous campaign of 
Admiral Vernon against Carthagena. 2 

From this time until 1754 the province did not aid 
in the British defence or that of its neighbors. But 
with the beginning of the fourth intercolonial war many 
demands began to be made upon it and most of them 
were granted. In 1754, at the call of the governor of 
Virginia, the assembly voted seven hundred and fifty 
soldiers, with twelve thousand pounds for raising and 
equipping them, to be used in defence of Virginia and 
of the British interests, which were now being endan- 
gered by the French and Indians. This was done with 
the understanding that Virginia would support them 
after their arrival within her borders, as they were 

i Hawks, II, 554. 

2C. R. IV, 421, 552-58; Swann, 119-25; Martin, II, 30-35. 


chiefly for her defence. Upon this point of their sup- 
port a dispute arose and Virginia refused to supply 
them with provisions. The number was in consequence 
reduced to four hundred and fifty. North Carolina, 
having no coin and a paper currency worthless outside 
the province, was compelled to send cattle and other 
provisions for their support. After arriving in Vir- 
ginia they rendered practically no aid. They receiv- 
ing no pay from either province and not having suffi- 
cient supplies, many deserted. Finally in August of 
the same year they were disbanded. 1 While this first 
attempt to aid in fighting the French and Indians 
failed, still early in the next year a company of one 
hundred men was sent to Virginia and became a sup- 
port to General Braddock, the commander of the Brit- 
ish colonial forces. During the latter part of the same 
year nine thousand pounds and one hundred and fifty 
men, exclusive of officers, were granted by the assem- 
bly for the assistance of the colonies to the north, to be 
used as the governor deemed best. 2 Whether these 
three companies of fifty men each were sent along with 
a fourth one of the same size to New York, during the 
early part of 1756, we cannot say with absolute cer- 
tainty, though most probably they were. 3 During the 
first months of the next year, the governors of North 
Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania hav- 
ing met at the call of the Earl of Loudon, the com- 

i Davis, 1765, II, 18-25; Swann, 216-17; C. R. V, 11, 109-12, 123- 
28, 137, 144c, 147, 739; Waddell, 42-48. 

*C. R. V, 366-72, 401-02, 601, 739; MS. Laws; Waddell, 55. 
3 C. R. V, 601, 739. 


mander-in-chief of the crown's forces in North Amer- 
ica, devised a plan for the defence of the Southern 
Colonies. Upon these provinces doing their part the 
crown promised to send to their aid a battalion of sol- 
diers, with supplies and munitions of war. The center 
of this campaign was to be South Carolina, against the 
southern Indians. North Carolina, in order to aid her 
neighbor and the British interests, very willingly 
granted the demands made upon her for two hundred 
fighting men, with pay and with supplies until they 
should arrive in South Carolina. The crown had 
agreed to provide for their necessities after they were 
placed under a British commander. 1 Within a few 
months Major Waddell was placed in command of three 
companies of one hundred men each. These, with 
seven thousand pounds for their pay and equipment, 
were granted by the assembly for the final attack upon 
Fort DuQuesne. 2 

By the end of 1758 North Carolina had granted to 
the crown for the purpose of carrying on the fourth 
intercolonial war more than sixty-six thousand pounds, 
and more than thirty-eight thousand of this had been 
used outside of the province— that is for the British 
colonial defence. 3 But this was not all that North 
Carolina did in this war. As we have seen, she fur- 
nished a fair number of soldiers from 1754 to 1759, 
and after this until the end of the struggle she con- 

iC. R. V, 744, 750-52, 762; Davis, 1765, II, 120; MS. Laws. 
2C. R. V, 934, 1010; Davis, 1765, II, 136; MS. Laws; Waddell, 39, 

3 C. R. V, 986-87. 


tinued to grant both troops and money. The Chero- 
kees were now becoming very restless and threatening, 
especially against South Carolina. They, in pursu- 
ance of a treaty made with England, had been quiet for 
the past three years, but in 1758-1759 they assumed a 
very hostile attitude. Under these conditions the gov- 
ernor of South Carolina called on Georgia and her two 
neighbors to the north for aid. During 1759 Colonel 
Waddell (now of this rank) was ordered to lead the 
provincials in the pay of the province and as many as 
five hundred of the militia of Anson, Rowan and 
Orange counties to the assistance of South Carolina, 
a small sum being voted for their transportation. 1 
The militia refused to go, however, on the ground that 
they by law were to be used only for the defence of 
their own province. The assembly, being appealed to, 
changed the militia act so as to require them to go out- 
side of the province in cases of great emergencies. 2 In 
addition to sending these provincials and militia, the 
assembly during the early part of the next year appro- 
priated five thousand pounds for paying and support- 
ing these while in service. 3 Again in June of the same 
year it granted seven thousand pounds for raising and 
paying three companies to be in service until Decem- 
ber, 1760. But by the end of this year the war was not 
yet over ; the Cherokees were still in a threatening atti- 
tude, especially toward South Carolina. England now 
planned to attack these with the provincial forces of 

*C. R. V, 61, 125; Davis, 1765, II, 167; MS. Laws; Waddell, 64-65. 
2C. R. VI, 112, 220-21; MS. Laws; Waddell, 65. 
3 C. R. VI, 125; Davis, 1765, II, 167; MS. Laws. 


Virginia and the two Carolinas. 1 Though this plan was 
wholly successful in bringing the Indians to terms, still 
North Carolina continued to grant soldiers and sup- 
plies for the interests of the British colonial policy. 
In March, 1761, she granted money sufficient, at least 
it was thought so, to raise, clothe and pay five hundred 
men, to be used as the governor of the province or the 
commander-in-chief of the king's forces in North 
America deemed best. 2 But this was the last grant 
which the assembly would allow, and this too in spite 
of another request for men and money from the British 
military commander. Early in 1762 General Amherst 
made a requisition upon the province for one hundred 
and thirty-four soldiers, exclusive of officers, but the 
assembly refused to pass any act to this effect. How- 
ever, the governor acknowledged the request, and 
ordered that these be raised and that they be paid out 
of the province's part of the appropriations made by 
the British parliament. 3 

From first to last, therefore, North Carolina spent 
a large amount in the fourth intercolonial war, a good 
deal for her own defence, but much more in aid of the 
British policy and interests. At one time the English 
parliament voted fifty thousand pounds in partial re- 
payment to Virginia and the two Carolinas, and at 
another two hundred thousand pounds to be distributed 
among all of the colonies. Of these two appropria- 
tions North Carolina received only 7,789 pounds, while 

i C. R. VI, 266, 324-26; Davis, 1765, II, 189-92; Iredell, 193. 

2 Davis, 1765, II, 220-23; Iredell, 198-200. 

3 C. R. VI, 705; Martin, II, 181. 


Virginia received about seven times as much. 1 This 
dividend to North Carolina appears to be only a small 
part of what the province had paid out, but in reality 
it was much larger than it at first sight appears; the 
large amount appropriated by the assembly was in 
colonial currency and this, as we have seen, was greatly 
depreciated, passing at a very great discount. Still 
for the most part North Carolina had discharged well 
her duty in this war. But as we have seen, she took no 
part whatever in the first three intercolonial wars. In 
fact she was far separated from the French and to a 
large extent from the Indians who were under the 
French influence, and there was, therefore, no great 
stimulus to take a very active or extensive part in 
these conflicts. They were upon a small scale and 
were confined to the colonies of the north. North 
Carolina was not alone in her conduct during the first 
three wars between the English and the French in 
North America; her neighbors neither took any inter- 
est worth consideration nor sent aid of a very impor- 
tant kind. 

As we have seen, the system of defence under the 
crown did not become of fundamental and vital im- 
portance until 1754, and, therefore, did not play an 
active part in the politics of the province prior to this 
time. But from 1754 to 1763 matters of defence be- 
came the absorbing question. Governor Dobbs began 
his administration in 1754 under the most auspicious 
and pleasant relations between himself and the pro- 
vincial assembly. It appeared that under him the col- 

i C. R. VI, 285-87 ; preface, pp. x-xii. 


onists and the crown officers placed over them would 
continue to cherish the most cordial feelings toward 
each other. But troubles came thick and fast upon the 
colony. The French and the Indians were putting 
forth their greatest energies to make encroachments, 
and the province must defend itself, as well as lend aid 
to its sister colonies in keeping back these encroach- 
ments and in subduing their rivals. Dobbs as the chief 
executive must call upon the assembly for men and 
money, and so frequently was he compelled to do this 
that it began to complain of his administration, though 
it was in the main successful. Although several quar- 
rels occurred between the governor and the assembly 
over these calls for money, still the requests were 
granted throughout the period until near its close. 
Only once, in 1762, as we have seen, did the assembly 
refuse outright to vote such a request. But though it 
granted the requests, in almost every instance of grant- 
ing aid it gained something in the way of privileges 
for itself; in fact very frequently its grants were pur- 
chased by these privileges. 


The Conflicts Between the Executive and the 
Lower House Under the Crown. 

The functions and relations of the governor, council 
and lower house of the legislature have already been 
considered. The executive, the governor and the coun- 
cil, directly representing the crown, was very naturally 
disposed to look to its interests, even to the disad- 
vantage of the colonists. It was its special duty to 
administer the affairs of the province in a manner that 
would bring the best possible results to the crown ; and 
a model government of an English royal province in 
the eighteenth century was one which aimed to add 
much to the material advantage of the government and 
people of England. The lower house of the legislature 
represented the colonists, who were likewise working 
for their own interests. They could never fully under- 
stand or appreciate the significance and benefits of the 
crown's government. In theory they were protected 
by the king; in reality they to a large extent protected 
themselves. While the colonists never fully under- 
stood the policy of the home government, it is equally 
true that the people and officials in England knew very 
little about the ideas and sentiments of the farmers of 
North Carolina. Under these conditions, and with the 
organization and powers which the executive and lower 



house had, it was natural that they should come into 
conflicts of a fundamental and serious nature. 

There were some disputes between these departments 
on really trivial and personal matters, and some of 
these hindered the cause of good government. The 
larger number of the conflicts were on constitutional 
and vital points. It was on questions of land and quit- 
rents, fees, money and the treasurers, the agent, courts 
and judges, that these conflicts became important and 
serious. In this connection the more formal or consti- 
tutional aspects of the conflicts and disputes upon ques- 
tions of land, money and justice will be considered; 
elsewhere the details of these disputes have been given 
and discussed. The following discussion will be made 
for the specific purpose of showing what the positions 
of the executive and the lower house were upon the 
most vital questions of government, with the convic- 
tion that when these positions are clearly compre- 
hended the most difficult problem in the history of 
North Carolina as a royal province will be practically 

The conflicts arising from the different points of 
view concerning the administration of the territorial 
system came into prominence early in 1731, and Gov- 
ernor Burrington and the lower house could never 
come to an agreement upon them. In April of this 
year the lower house, after considering the instructions 
from the crown concerning the payment of quit-rents, 
adopted a resolution to the effect that there was not 
coin enough in the province with which to pay one half 
of the rents, and that, therefore, such payment should 


be made in valuable commodities or bills, at a proper 
rate of exchange. The governor insisted that the pay- 
ment should be made in coin or in bills at a very low 
rate of exchange, and that payment in commodities and 
bills at the rate which the house had assigned was to 
the great disadvantage of the crown. The lower house 
valued the commodities at high rates and demanded 
that the provincial bills be accepted at a small discount. 
During May of the same year a conference was held 
between the two parties in the dispute, but neither 
one yielding it accomplished nothing. Both Burring- 
ton and the representatives gave evidences of much 
bad feeling and no agreement could be reached. 1 

During the assembly of 1733 these questions became 
the subject of a more bitter dispute than had occurred 
in Burrington's first legislature. The lower house still 
demanded that quit-rents should be paid in commodi- 
ties at high rates and in bills at a small discount, while 
Burrington maintained that the rents were due in ster- 
ling and that its claims were based upon mere assump- 
tions. The tone of his speeches, as well as his demands, 
were such as to cause the struggle to continue. The 
lower house in defending its position finally made the 
claim that the deed of 1668 from the proprietors, known 
as the "original deed," was a permanent and binding 
document, and that, therefore, the crown had no right 
to give instructions concerning quit-rents which were 
contrary to this deed. 2 This claim, which practically 
denied the crown 's right of regulating the territorial 

iC. R. Ill, 143-44, 157-68, 279-80, 294. 
2 C. R. Ill, 598-99, 606-09, 621. 


system, had no legal or constitutional basis, and it was, 
as Burrington characterized it, a mere assumption of 
power. During the proprietary period the colonists 
had enjoyed certain privileges concerning their lands, 
and these were and ought to have been respected by the 
crown. But to deny the crown the right to modify them 
in the slightest degree was the assumption by the lower 
house of absolute independence. In their demands 
concerning the payment of quit-rents in commodities at 
high rates and in bills at a small discount they were 
ignoring the rights of the crown and depriving it of 
some of its legitimate dues, and the governor in refus- 
ing to assent to such demands was doing his duty. But 
on the other hand he was going to extremes in claiming 
that quit-rents should be paid in sterling only. The 
colonists had very little coin, and to demand rents in 
sterling only was a hardship to them and a mistake on 
the part of the executive. 

Governor Johnston, as well as his predecessor, had 
some conflicts with the lower house on questions re- 
lating to land, but these never become so serious as to 
prevent any legislation whatever on the subject. 
Under him seven territorial acts were passed, but two 
of these were disallowed by the crown because of 
clauses which were derogatory to the interests of the 
home government. 1 This would indicate that Johnston 
was more compromising than Burrington, and affords 
a partial explanation of the fact that his conflicts with 
the lower house were not so serious as those under 
Burrington. While not so serious as under Burrington, 

i Swann, passim. 


still the disputes of Johnston with the lower house 
came from the same causes. Early in 1735 the lower 
house in replying to him stated that when the province 
was granted by the crown to the proprietors, they were 
given the power to grant lands to all inhabitants at 
such rents as they could agree upon; that the pro- 
prietors through their governors, the council and the 
lower house, were to make all the laws concerning land, 
which should be binding on the proprietors and their 
tenants; that by the "original deed" of 1668 the pro- 
prietors gave to their governor and council the power 
of granting lands in North Carolina upon the same 
terms as lands were granted in Virginia, at two shill- 
ings per one hundred acres, payable in tobacco at one 
penny per pound; that when it was discovered that 
North Carolina could not produce as good tobacco as 
Virginia the payment was changed from tobacco to 
other commodities at certain rates, at which rates the 
commodities had always been received by the pro- 
prietors; and that for these reasons it was proper to 
claim that the "original deed" was still in force, 
though all the other proprietary laws had become void. 
It also declared that the governor's demand that quit- 
rents be paid in sterling was contrary to this deed from 
the proprietors, and, therefore, illegal. It asked the 
governor to have the rents collected according to the 
customs of the province until a law could be secured to 
that effect. 1 

On the same day Johnston sent the lower house a 
message, in which he declared that its ideas concerning 

1 c. R. IV, 109-10. 


quit-rents were contrary to the king's rights and privi- 
leges. He argued that the "original deed" from the 
proprietors contained nothing which made it irrevoca- 
ble, and that it had actually been revoked by the pro- 
prietors in 1670, when they gave another deed, which 
required the payment of quit-rents in coin at one half 
penny per acre, and that the acts directing the payment 
in commodities had never received the assent of the 
proprietors and consequently had not become laws. 
He further stated that North Carolina had adopted the 
crown laws when she became a royal province. 1 His 
argument, though to a very great extent historically 
and legally sound, did not convince the members of the 
house, and no act was passed and agreed to at this 
assembly. 2 

Thus the position which the lower house took under 
Burrington and Johnston in regard to matters of land 
was in many respects illegal and against the interests 
of the crown. It was its right and duty to see that the 
territorial administration was for the true welfare of 
the province, but there was no justification in its de- 
manding that the interests of the crown should be 
ignored or harmed. 

By the time that Dobbs became governor, territorial 
questions had come to assume far less importance, 
hence they were no longer the subject of conflicts be- 
tween the governor and the lower house. Military, 
judicial and fiscal problems were now the chief ones 
and upon these came the conflicts after 1754. 

iC. R. IV, 110-14. 
2C. R. IV, 8. 


Xot only did the governor and the lower honse be- 
come involved in disputes over the territorial system, 
but the council and the lower house did likewise. 
From 1735 to 1740 bills relating to quit-rents were the 
causes of much dispute between the two houses. The 
lower house attempted to frame them so that their 
execution would impose as little a burden as possible 
upon the colonists, and at times almost ignored the 
rights of the crown. The upper house refused to agree 
to such action; it maintained, as far as it could, the 
rights and privileges of the crown. During February, 
1735, the lower house sent a message to the upper house 
in regard to a bill for quit-rents. It stated that the 
upper house had amended its bill so as to restrict the 
payment of quit-rents to only four places, and claimed 
that this would be a heavy burden to the colonists, that 
rents were payable on the land unless expressly stated 
otherwise, and that such had been the custom in North 
Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The bill of 
the lower house proposed that rents be paid in the best 
possible commodities and at several places on the 
navigable rivers, no allowance being made for car- 
riage. 1 The upper house replied that it was compelled 
to reject the bill because of the many clauses which 
were against the crown's rights and interests. It said 
that the bill of the lower house would compel the crown 
to spend one half of its quit-rents in collecting them, 
and that this was unfair and illegal. 2 No agreement 
was reached at this session. These questions were 

i C. R. IV, 132-33. 
2 C. R. IV, 133-35. 


again much discussed and were the causes of conflicts 
in the assembly of October, 1736. At this session 
another bill for quit-rents was rejected by the upper 
house and for reasons similar to those mentioned 
above. 1 In February, 1739, after some dispute con- 
cerning the force of the ' ' original deed, ' ' the payment 
in sterling and commodities, and other detailed points, 
the two houses came to an agreement, each yielding on 
some points to the other. 2 After 1740 the records give 
no evidence of important conflicts between the two 
branches of the legislature on territorial questions. In 
those which occurred from 1735 to 1740 the upper house 
had taken substantially the same position as the gover- 
nor in his conflicts with the lower house ; the executive 
— the governor and the council— was, therefore, practi- 
cally a unit in this. 

The governor and the lower house, while acting much 
more harmoniously on the questions of fees than on 
land, still became involved in some conflicts concern- 
ing them. In April, 1731, Burrington sent a paper to 
the lower house in which he claimed that its charges 
that fees were much higher in North Carolina than in 
Virginia, were unreasonable and false. This made the 
representatives angry and they in turn sent him a reply, 
in which they declared that for nearly twenty years, ac- 
cording to old customs and laws, officers had been paid 
in paper currency and at rates established by the lower 
house. They stated that officers under the crown were 
taking four times as much in fees as those under the 

iC. R. IV, 240. 

2 C. R. IV, 368-69, 373. 



proprietors had done, and in a bitter tone made many 
complaints about his whole administration. He in 
reply advanced the claim that he and the council alone 
had the full power to establish and regulate fees, and 
that the king's instructions, which stated that all fees 
should be paid in proclamation money, repealed all the 
proprietary laws concerning fees. 1 This claim on the 
part of the governor exaggerated his own powers and 
those of the council, and ignored some of the privileges 
of the lower house, privileges which it had enjoyed 
both by direct grants from the proprietors and by 
allowances on the part of the proprietors. The crown 
respected many of these privileges, but time and again 
announced its right to modify them. It is evident that 
the king intended that the modifications should be made 
by the governor and council, with the consent of the 
lower house, if possible. Burrington 's claim, therefore, 
though much exaggerated, had a certain legal basis. 
But the lower house would not accept his interpreta- 
tion. It was in a large measure correct in declaring 
that it, as well as the governor and council, had a right 
to establish and regulate fees, but in its claim that its 
privileges from the proprietors could not be modified 
by the crown it was going too far. Such a claim denied 
the right of the crown to regulate public matters in its 
own province, which right the crown had by virtue of 
the fact that it was the chief executive and the ultimate 
source of governmental powers in the province. 

Burrington asked for a compromise and proposed a 
conference. A conference was held, but with no results 

i C. R. Ill, 95, 103, 265, 267, 270-72. 


looking to a compromise. The lower house would not 
yield to his demand that fees be paid in proclamation 
money according to the crown's instructions; it in- 
sisted upon tobacco and bills of credit being accepted, 
and uxjon the right of deciding at what rates these 
should be received. Burrington was perhaps too obsti- 
nate in demanding that fees be paid in proclamation 
money only. The lower house on the other hand gave 
little evidence of desiring to do the fair thing when it 
ordered that fees be accepted in commodities at high 
rates and in bills at par, which were much depreciated. l 
Under Johnston fees brought on no serious dispute. 
Still he and the lower house had different opinions con- 
cerning the amount of fees, in what they should be paid 
and who had the right of regulating them. 2 However, 
after 1736 there is practically no evidence of a conflict 
over these, excepting once, in 1760. During May of that 
year the lower house complained of Dobbs taking too 
high fees, but this complaint was not well founded, as 
the records show, and was of no consequence. 3 From 
1736 to 1774 the lower house at times made complaints 
about certain officers taking and demanding exorbitant 
or illegal fees, but for the most part the governor was 
as ready as the representatives to correct such abuses ; 
and during this period the evidence, both of a positive 
and negative nature, would indicate that the governor 
and the lower house were willing to compromise on fees, 
as they did on territorial questions. In fact other and 

iC. R. Ill, 144, 151-52, 280-81. 
2C. R. IV, 173-78, 189-200. 
3C. R. VI, 288-89. 


far more important problems were then demanding the 
attention of both parties. 

Fees were the subject of some conflict between the 
two houses of the legislature. During 1731 the lower 
house took into consideration the question of regulating 
fees, and especially in what they should be paid. It 
complained of the action on the part of the governor 
and the council in regulating them without its own 
consent. The council had taken the instructions from 
the crown, which declared that fees should be payable 
in proclamation money, as its guide, and it and the gov- 
ernor had acted accordingly. The lower house not only 
denounced their action, but went so far as to declare 
such action, though upon the authority of royal instruc- 
tions, illegal and oppressive. The upper house, or 
council, was displeased at such a declaration on the 
part of the lower house, and sent it a resolution in 
which it was stated that the lower house in making such 
a declaration was not only invading the crown's pre- 
rogative but was divesting the governor and council of 
their powers which the crown had given them. This 
caused the lower house to take a more conservative 
view. It now disavowed its statement concerning the 
illegality and oppression of the royal instructions. But 
it still made its own interpretations of the crown's in- 
structions in regard to fees and declared that these were 
intended to mean that fees should be regulated by 
colonial acts, in the passage of which it should have as 
much part as the governor and the upper house. No 
act concerning fees was passed by this assembly though 
serious attempts were made to this effect ; neither house 


was willing to yield, at least upon the question as to 
what fees should be payable in. The lower house in- 
sisted upon the use of bills of credit which were much 
depreciated, while the upper house adhered to the in- 
structions from the crown which called for proclama- 
tion money. 1 The upper house was in this, therefore, 
in substantial sympathy and agreement with the gov- 

The conflicts relating to fees did not arise from the 
institution in itself, but had reference to the form of 
their payment and the parties who should regulate 
them ; they were, therefore, conflicts arising chiefly from 
the fiscal side of the system. Both parties, the execu- 
tive and the lower house, in the main agreed that there 
should be a system of fees. They were willing to allow 
certain fees to the governor, the officers in chancery 
and admiralty, the secretary, chief justice, associate 
justices, attorney-generals, marshals, collectors of cus- 
toms, registers, surveyors, escheators, constables, jus- 
tices of the peace and clerks of the different courts. 
Fees constituted the chief or only compensation of these 
officers. On the question that they should be allowed, 
the executive and the lower house were in agreement, 
but in regard to some of the details of the system they 
entertained very different views. 2 

The disposition and control of the public revenue 
were subjects of much controversy between the gover- 

i C. R. Ill, 95, 103, 151-52, 157-68, 264, 269. 

2C. R. Ill, 95, 159-68, 188, 265, 267, 270-72, 294, 496-98; IV, 189- 
98, 446-47; VI, 1097; VII, 796; IX, 165; MS. Laws; Swann, 250-58; 
Davis, 1765, II, 230-31; Davis, 1773, 456, 473-75, 503-04. 


nor and the lower house during the larger part of the 
royal period. During April, 1731, the lower house in 
reply to the governor's speech, discussed fiscal matters 
and declared that no public moneys should be issued ex- 
cept by the governor, council and itself. One of Bur- 
rington's instructions directed him to allow no money 
to be issued or disposed of except by his warrant issued 
upon the advice of the council, but he was to allow the 
lower house to review and examine the accounts. This 
instruction was intended to take the distribution of the 
public moneys largely from the lower house and to allow 
it no further control than that which it might have from 
reviewing the accounts of expenditures. The lower 
house would not accept such an instruction, at least Bur- 
rington's interpretation of it, and claimed that the act of 
1715 concerning the public treasurer gave more power 
than that involved in reviewing and examining ac- 
counts. Burrington would not recognize such a claim, 
and held that his instructions from the crown had 
legally superseded all the laws of the proprietary pe- 
riod. During his whole administration conflicts upon 
this subject continued between the lower house and him- 
self. It claimed the privileges which it had enjoyed 
during the proprietary government, of having a large 
share in the distribution of public moneys, while he in- 
sisted rigidly upon the letter of his instructions con- 
cerning their disposition. 2 Not only did the represen- 
tatives refuse to recognize his claims, but they pro- 
ceeded to carry their own into action. They appointed 

i C. R. Ill, 100, 103, 265. 
2 C. R. Ill, 265-672, passim. 


and, therefore, controlled the public treasurers; they 
had already, by an act of 1729, which the crown appar- 
ently never approved, established the office of treasurer 
in eleven precincts, and the control of these was within 
their power. l His claim was to a large extent legal, as 
it was based upon specific instructions from the crown, 
but his interpretation of his fiscal powers tended to 
deprive the lower house of privileges which the pro- 
prietors had granted or allowed it. The position of the 
lower house was to an extent extra legal, but when con- 
sidered in the light of what had been its customary 
privileges it was not a very extravagant one. The 
crown, while having the right to modify these privi- 
leges, still did not propose to do so in a very violent 
manner, and, therefore, did not sustain its governor in 
his extreme position. 

According to the records Johnston had few, if any 
conflicts, on this subject; he apparently yielded to the 
demands of the lower house. Dobbs had no disputes 
with it until 1759. From 1759 to 1765 he had some 
conflicts with it, as he attempted to recover for the 
crown the control over the fiscal system and its admin- 
istration. In this he failed, and the authorities at home 
gave him no encouragement to continue the struggle. 
The board of trade in writing to him in August, 1759, 
stated that the custom of the appointment of treasurers 
by the assembly, or the lower house alone, and of their 
being amenable to these bodies only had been too long 
in vogue to be checked. 2 This is fairly good evidence 

»C. R. Ill, 151. 
2 C. R. VI, 6, 55. 


that the lower house had practically controlled the dis- 
position of public moneys from the beginning of the 
royal government. Not only did it do this in time of 
peace, but also during war. From 1754 to 1760 a good 
many acts were passed, which granted aids to the crown 
for the purposes of war. This money was not placed 
under the control of the treasurers, who were directly 
amenable to the lower house ; it was put in the hands 
of special commissioners, or of the governor, in order 
that the war measures might be facilitated. However, 
these aids, though granted to the crown, were really not 
wholly at the disposal of the crown 's agent— the gover- 
nor. The lower house insisted upon the right of exam- 
ining all the accounts of the expenditure of such moneys. 
During May, 1760, it drew up several resolves concern- 
ing the fiscal administration of Dobbs during the war 
and made several charges against him for his failure 
to render full accounts to it and for his lack of good 
judgment, as it thought, in applying these moneys. 1 
During the latter years of Dobbs' administration the 
lower house at times went to the extreme of not allow- 
ing the governor and the council the right of inspecting 
the treasurer's accounts. 2 So that Dobbs was almost at 
the mercy of the representatives in his fiscal adminis- 
tration. He made several attempts to secure partial 
control of public monies, but failed in each case. 

Governor Tryon and the lower house had no conflicts 
on this question worth special mention. He allowed it 
to dispose of the public moneys according to the customs 

i C. R. VI, 280-84, 287-88, 410-13. 
2C. R. VI, 321. 


of the province, provided it would grant him as much 
as he needed to carry out his extravagant ideas. Still 
there is some evidence that he and the lower house had 
fundamentally different ideas as to how the fiscal sys- 
tem should be administered. According to his theories 
of government the disposition of the public moneys be- 
longed to the executive and not to the lower house of 
the legislature. 1 The policy of the lower house was to 
appoint sheriffs and treasurers who should collect and 
expend the public revenue. In theory, these fiscal of- 
ficers, being appointed by the lower house, were con- 
trolled by it, but in reality they controlled the repre- 
sentatives in many respects. It was to remedy this 
defect, to deprive the fiscal officers as far as possible 
of their influence over the legislature, that Try on urged 
that the fiscal system be placed under the control of the 
executive. It was during the latter part of his admin- 
istration that the lower house advanced further claims 
concerning money matters, or at least stated old claims 
in a stronger and more specific manner than it had be- 
fore. In November, 1769, it resolved that the sole right 
of imposing taxes upon the people was then and had 
ever been legally and constitutionally vested in itself. 2 
It had already set up the claim that it was entitled to 
a large share of the control of the public moneys. It 
now declared that it alone had the right to levy the taxes, 
the chief source from which the public revenue came. 

Governor Martin had to administer the affairs of the 
province at a time when fiscal conditions were bad, and 

iC. R. VIII, 104-5. 
2C. R. VIII, 122. 


problems of this nature were therefore important and 
serious during his administration. In 1772 the lower 
house passed a bill to the effect that a certain poll tax 
and excise duty had had their effect and should no 
longer be collected. Martin rejected the bill, because 
he did not think that the said tax and duty had been 
collected in sufficient amounts to discharge the debts 
for the payment of which they had been levied, as the 
house declared, and because he desired to regain some 
control over fiscal affairs; to his mind, filled with the 
prerogative idea, the lower house should be checked in 
its assumption of power. It, however, in spite of the 
rejection of the bill, resolved that the sheriffs and col- 
lectors should no longer collect the tax and duty. Mar- 
tin then appealed to the council, which advised him to 
issue a proclamation requiring all sheriffs and collectors 
to continue to collect the said tax and duty under the 
penalty of being sued on their bonds, and this was done. 
But the lower house had already provided for an emer- 
gency by resolving to indemnify the officers who should 
obey it and were consequently sued by the governor. 1 
Because of this resolution, Martin dissolved the assem- 
bly. During December, 1773, this question came up 
again, and again the governor and the lower house took 
the same positions that they had taken during the pre- 
vious assembly. Neither side would yield, and conse- 
quently no agreement was reached. 2 

In this struggle the governor was, as far as the rec- 
ords bear testimony, acting according to a sound though 

'C. R. IX., 228-35. 
2 C. R. IX, 745, 944. 


narrow policy. The tax and duty, on which the two 
parties became involved in a conflict, were levied by acts 
of the assembly for the purpose of redeeming the bills 
of credit which were issued in 1748 and 1754. The 
lower house in 1772, and again in 1773, declared that 
the tax and duty had already had the effect of sinking 
the said bills of credit. Such a claim was based upon 
either a mistake in calculation or a misunderstanding 
of the fiscal acts. According to the acts of 1748, 1754, 
1760, and 1761, 93,350 pounds of these bills of credit 
were emitted. By 1772, 53,104 pounds of these had 
been redeemed and there was cash in the treasury to 
the amount of 12,586 pounds to be used for the same 
purpose. After this cash had been used in redeeming 
bills of credit there would still be outstanding bills to 
the amount of 27,660 pounds. To redeem these there 
must be some source of revenue, and as the records give 
evidence, though not with absolute certainty, the tax 
and duty which the lower house resolved to discontinue 
were the only sources of income. 1 Martin was, there- 
fore, correct in not yielding to its demands. Though 
the authorities in England stood by their governor in 
his position, 2 still the representatives were not ready 
to yield. No compromise was reached, and both parties 
remained hostile to each other. The lower house from 
the beginning of the royal govenment had exercised 
very considerable fiscal powers. Under Johnston, 
Dobbs and Tryon it won additional powers, and under 
Martin it assumed a position of practical independence. 

iC. R. IX, 166-67, 201, 230-35, 744-45. 
«C. R. IX, 301. 


The two houses agreed on many points in the fiscal 
administration, bnt from 1744 to 1769 they left evidence 
of disputes and conflicts. In March, 1744, the problem 
of redeeming the outstanding currency was one much 
under discussion between the two branches of the legis- 
lature. The upper house declared that the vote of the 
lower house on this subject and for emitting new bills 
of credit was contrary to equity in its public debt clause 
and contrary to good sense as well as equity in its cur- 
rency clause, though they did not specify in what par- 
ticulars these clauses were unsound. After much dis- 
pute the upper house advised the governor to dissolve 
the assembly, which he at once did. 1 This question 
came up again in the November assembly of 1744. The 
upper house now proposed that the redemption bill 
which proceeded from the lower house should be 
amended : ( 1 ) that a land tax of six pence per hundred 
acres be laid as a means of paying the outstanding bills ; 
(2) that two commodities of universal value be taken in 
payment of the said tax. In addition to these proposed 
amendments it struck out the clause which allowed 
wages to the members of the two houses. The lower 
house insisted upon the clause which provided for the 
wages of members of the assembly, and refused to ac- 
cept the amendments of the upper house. It proposed 
that the outstanding bills be paid by means of a tax on 
each tithable for a term of eight years. Neither house 
would yield, and the bill was consequently rejected by 
the upper house. 2 There seems to have been no con- 

» C. R. IV, 716-18. 

2C. R. IV, 746-48, 752, 780, 781. 


stituticmal reason for these conflicts, except that the 
lower house claimed that the task of providing for the 
redemption of the currency, as well as the payment of 
taxes, should be left to it, and that the council should 
have nothing to do with either. 1 The payment of 
wages to both houses alike was certainly not a constitu- 
tional question. The difference between a land and a 
poll tax was not very great and was only a fiscal matter. 
The fact that the governor took no part in the disputes 
affords some evidence that they arose chiefly from per- 
sonal differences. 

The two houses became involved in some conflicts 
over the nomination of public treasurers. The lower 
house claimed the exclusive right of nominating such 
officers, while the upper house declared that it had at 
least equal rights with the lower house in this. In 
1750 a long dispute arose over this question, and the 
upper house rejected a bill appointing a treasurer, after 
no compromise could be reached. 2 A similar incident 
occurred in 1765 and with the same results. 3 During 
1766 this question was raised again, but after consider- 
able discussion the upper house yielded to the claims 
of the lower house. 4 In this struggle the council was 
maintaining the legal rights of the crown, the governor 
and itself, as opposed to the action of the lower house, 
but in the end it yielded and allowed the representatives 
of the people almost complete control over the fiscal 

*C. R. IV, 780-81. 

2 C. R. IV, 1058-59, 1061. 

3C. R. VII, 56. 

*C. R. VII, 312-14, 324, 330. 


The appointment and control of an agent in England 
was a matter of importance and was a subject of contro- 
versy during the years 1759 to 1761. The lower house 
won in its struggle with the governor, and the authori- 
ties in England granted most of its claims. The first 
conflict occurred in January, 1759. The lower house 
then passed a bill in which an agent was appointed and 
provided for, and, in order to compel the council and 
governor to assent to its bill, it refused to act on other 
matters until such assent was obtained. Dobbs, rather 
than yield to the claims of the lower house, prorogued 
the assembly. 1 In May of the same year he asked the 
legislature for a supply bill for the purposes of war, but 
it refused to pass this unless the governor would allow 
it to designate an agent in the bill. This he refused to 
do on the ground that such action, as he thought, took 
away the king's prerogative. 2 However, the board of 
trade, in writing to Dobbs during the latter part of 
1759, stated that they approved of his rejecting the said 
bill, but that it did not infringe on the king's preroga- 
tive and rights as much as he thought. They stated 
that the method followed by the lower house in appoint- 
ing an agent was in the main proper and had been al- 
lowed by the crown in the Jamaica case ; and that, while 
the governor should see to it that the laws of the pro- 
vincial legislature secured his majesty's rights, they did 
not think he should have dissolved the assembly because 
of its action in this matter. 3 During the first session 

i c. R. VI, 2-3. 
2 C. R. VI, 32-40. 
3C. R. VI, 54-56. 


of the legislature of 1760 this question came up again, 
and neither side was willing to compromise. The lower 
house passed a bill appointing a Mr. Bacon as agent, 
but the upper house refused to accept him. The lower 
house then declared that it alone had the right of ap- 
pointing and instructing the agent, and could do it in- 
dependently of the council and governor. For such a 
declaration the governor dissolved the assembly. l But 
the authorities in England again expressed their dis- 
approval of the action of Dobbs. In April, 1761, the 
board of trade in writing to him stated that he had 
hindered his majesty's service and that of South Caro- 
lina, by his trivial policy in insisting on his rights con- 
cerning the appointment of an agent, and in rejecting 
an aid bill because it contained an agent clause. They 
stated that the people through their representatives had 
the right of nominating an agent; that the only thing 
of which he could legally object in their appointment 
was the mode thereof, and that, while the lower house 
acted contrary to custom in doing this in a supply bill, 
his rejection of the bill for that reason was trivial. 2 
The question of the agent was also the subject of con- 
flicts between the two houses. These began in 1759 
and continued to be of some importance until 1769. 
The lower house claimed the larger share in the ap- 
pointment and control of the agent, and that such was 
an inherent and undoubted right of its own. The 
upper house refused to approve such a claim and re- 
jected several bills for the appointment of agents be- 

iC. R. VI, 345, 417. 
2C. R. VI, 538-41. 


cause they contained provisions asserting it. 1 The 
position of the council was thus practically the same 
as that of the governor. The executive desired to re- 
tain as much control over the agent as possible. It was 
anxious to have an officer residing in London who 
would represent its side with fullness and sympathy. 
The lower house for a similar reason desired that its 
control should be supreme. The appointment of such 
an agent was, therefore, a matter of importance to both 
parties. From the practical point of view the lower 
house was more nearly correct in its demands than the 
governor. He had ready means of communication with 
the home government without such an agent ; it was also 
his specific duty to communicate with the board of 
trade and secretary of state concerning all provincial 
matters, while the lower house could not obtain a hear- 
ing of its case before the authorities in England unless 
through the governor or an agent. When the governor 
was hostile it was not likely that he would adequately 
represent its cause. So that, as a matter of necessity, 
the lower house demanded that the province should 
keep an agent in London and that it, as representing 
the colonists, should have the larger control over him. 
The board of trade recognized the justice of such claims 
and directed the governor to grant most of them. 

It was upon judicial problems, as upon fiscal ques- 
tions, that the struggles betweeen the governor and the 
lower house became great and serious; the conflicts 
over land, fees and the agent were of minor importance 
as compared with these. It was not until 1760 that 

iC. R. VI, 92-93, 423-24, 113G-37, 1141-44, 1286-88; VIII, 11. 


judicial problems became so important. It is true that 
before this time there had been a judicial system under 
the control of the crown, but this was not the subject of 
any conflicts worth mentioning. But between 1760 and 
1763, and 1773 and 1775, these problems were much dis- 
cussed and debated. The lower house during May, 
1760, presented to Dobbs a bill for the establishment 
of superior courts of pleas and grand sessions. He 
rejected it, and then laid the bill and some of his in- 
structions before the chief justice for an opinion. He 
was instructed not to appoint any person to be judge or 
justice of the peace without the advice and consent of 
at least three councillors signified in a council meeting, 
and that all commissions to judges or justices of the 
peace be during pleasure only. Dobbs claimed that the 
bill violated the crown 's rights as expressed in the said 
instructions. By this bill associate justices were nomi- 
nated, whose commissions were to be given quamdiu se 
bene gesserint. The bill stated nothing about the chief 
justice, as he was appointed by the crown but with a 
commission during pleasure only. Dobbs argued that 
the lower house in nominating the associate justice 
had taken from him and the council the right of ap- 
pointing justices, and that the clause which made the 
commissions during good behavior was an open viola- 
tion of the rights of the crown. This argument, though 
legally sound, did not convince the chief justice that the 
bill should be rejected. He advised the governor that 
the said bill, while it contained some rather strange 
ideas, should be accepted, as it was the best possible 



under the circumstances. 1 Neither did the governor's 
argument cause the lower house to change its position, 
and the struggle was kept up. But the province in the 
meantime fell into great disorder because of a lack of 
courts, and by the end of 1762 Dobbs assented to bills 
for superior and inferior courts for two years, in spite 
of several objectionable clauses. 2 

Between 1763 and 1773 questions affecting the judi- 
ciary did not occupy the attention of the governor and 
the lower house, but from 1773 to 1775 these were again 
among the chief causes of conflict. During February, 
1773, the lower house presented to Martin a bill amend- 
ing and continuing the act of 1768 for superior courts. 
He thought it derogatory to the rights of the crown and 
rejected it. 3 A new bill relating to superior and in- 
ferior courts was then introduced and passed, though 
with a clause suspending its operation till the king 
should express his wishes. Owing to the pressure of 
circumstances, Martin gave his assent to this, notwith- 
standing it contained several objectionable clauses. 
When this act was sent to England, Richard Jackson, at 
the request of the board of trade, examined it. He in 
a report to the board stated that it contained two ob- 
jectionable points : (1) that relating to the legal process 
of attaching the goods of a person not residing in the 
province; (2) that which limited the original jurisdic- 
tion of the superior courts to debts and demands 
amounting to not less than fifty pounds proclamation 

iC. R. VI, 246-48, 252-54, 361-62, 402-04, 408-9, 413-17. 
2C. R. VI, 890-92, 970. 
3C. R. IX, 534. 


money when the plaintiff and defendant both resided 
in the same district, and to not less than twenty- 
five pounds when they resided in different districts. 
He further stated that the clause granting an at- 
tachment of the goods of persons not residing in 
North Carolina was specifically in violation of royal 
instructions, though he did not state exactly what these 
were, and consequently advised the disallowance of the 
act. 1 By this act the lower house attempted to give the 
province substantially all the powers of attachment 
which belonged to a sovereign state and to extend the 
jurisdiction of the inferior or lower courts. In regu- 
lating the superior courts the lower house was always 
limited by the fact that the chief justice was appointed 
by the crown and was, therefore, responsible to the home 
government. But in regard to the inferior courts there 
were few legal limitations upon the representatives. 
By this act the jurisdiction of the lower courts was ex- 
tended while that of the superior courts was limited. 
This was an attempt on the part of the lower house to 
extend its regulation over a large part of the judicial 
affairs. The lower courts were much more under its 
direction than the higher courts, and to extend their 
jurisdiction meant a further extension of the powers 
of the lower house. The superior courts were to a very 
considerable extent under the control of the crown and, 
therefore, to limit their jurisdiction was to take power 
away from the crown. It was perfectly natural, there- 
fore, that Martin should oppose such assumption of 
power and that the crown should not allow it. 

i C. R. IX, 670. 


In December, 1773, Martin, in his opening speech, 
stated that the crown had disallowed the act mentioned 
above, chiefly because of the foreign attachment clause. 
He also stated that the king deemed the extension of the 
jurisdiction of the inferior courts to cases of fifty 
pounds inadmissable. On the other hand, he assured 
the lower house that the king was willing to allow a 
provision for attachment in cases where the action 
should arise in the province, which was customary in 
the commercial cities of continental Europe. 1 At the 
same time he informed the lower house that he had been 
compelled by unfavorable circumstances and the lack 
of courts to appoint a court of oyer and terminer and 
general jail delivery for the trial of the many criminals 
then in prison. The disallowance of its act by the 
crown and the appointment of special courts by the 
governor caused the lower house to take a still stronger 
position. It would not yield to a change in its ideas 
respecting attachment and held that commissions of 
oyer and terminer could not legally be issued without 
its own consent. 2 This was almost an open denial 
of the right of the crown and the governor to regulate 
the judicial system even in the slightest degree. Both 
parties gave evidence of considerable temper in this 
conflict, and Martin prorogued the assembly to March, 
1774, in order to put an end to the struggle for the 
time. 3 

In his opening speech to the assembly of March, 
1774, Martin spoke very kindly and asked the coun- 

iC. R. IX, 707-08. 

*C. R. IX, 737-08, 742-43. 

3C. R. IX, 698-99, 786-87, 790-91. 


cillors and representatives not to insist upon the for- 
eign attachment clause as the indispensable provision 
of the bill for the regulation of courts. 1 The upper 
house replied that it would not make foreign attach- 
ments the only condition of its approval of such a bill. 2 
But the lower house declared that the people had very 
cordially approved of the action of the former houses 
and that consequently it could not yield on attach- 
ments or its demands that it should have a share in 
issuing commissions of oyer and terminer. 3 On March 
19 Martin gave his assent to twenty-six bills, but re- 
jected the one for superior courts because of the pro- 
visions concerning attachment and other objectionable 
clauses. 4 The lower house then resolved that the pos- 
session of the right to attach the effects of foreign 
debtors was beneficial to the province and was founded 
upon equity, and that a copy of the superior court bill, 
which Martin had rejected, be sent to the crown. 5 
While Martin and the lower house could not agree on a 
bill for the regulation of the superior courts, still he 
yielded somewhat to its demands and assented to bills 
for inferior courts and courts of oyer and terminer. 6 
During the short session of April, 1775, one more at- 
tempt was made to secure harmony and agreement in 
the matter of superior courts, but the lower house still 

iC. R. IX, 831-34. 

2C. R. IX, 835. 

3C. R. IX, 879-80. 

*C. R. IX, 926-28, 862-63. 

5C. R. IX, 939-40. 

6C. R. IX, 946. 


insisted upon the former demands and consequently no 
agreement was reached. 1 

Though Martin did not exercise tact in dealing with 
these questions, his claims were in the main legal, at 
least based upon his instructions from the crown while 
those of the lower house rested for the most part on 
assumptions or customs which had in the past been 

Courts and judges were also the causes of conflicts 
between the two houses. In 1746 a bill was rejected 
by the upper house in consequence of no agreement 
being reached on the question of the extent of the juris- 
diction of the inferior courts. 2 The lower house at- 
tempted to extend such jurisdiction to a very consider- 
able degree, while the upper house asserted that such 
extension was contrary to the rights of the crown and, 
therefore, illegal. In 1756 and 1760 three court bills 
were rejected by the upper house because of a dispute 
concerning the time of holding such courts and the pay- 
ment of the salaries of the justices. The lower house 
had by its bills fixed dates which would be very incon- 
venient for the chief justice and had demanded that the 
salaries be paid from the sinking fund instead of a poll 
tax; the upper house insisted upon dates which would 
be most convenient to the chief justice and upon the 
laying of a poll tax with which to pay the salaries. 3 
In November, 1762, the two houses had a considerable 
discussion over the appointment of associate justices of 

iC. R. IX, 988, 1190-95, 1201-11. 

2C. R. IV, 833. 

3C. R. V, 665-67; VI, 172-73, 175, 177, 179. 


the superior courts, and especially over the issue of 
commissions of oyer and terminer. The upper house 
claimed that the king by his prerogative had the right 
of appointing courts of oyer and terminer, while this 
claim was denied by the lower house. After much dis- 
pute the lower house agreed that the governor be given 
the power by the legislature of issuing commissions for 
such courts. As this plan would deprive the crown of 
its right to issue such commissions independently of the 
lower house, the upper house would not yield and con- 
sequently rejected the bill. 1 Thus the matter dropped 
as far as the legislature was concerned, and it was left 
in the hands of the executive to provide for courts of 
oyer and terminer. 

The two houses were in substantial agreement on ju- 
dicial questions from 1763 to 1773, but during the latter 
year they were in conflict over the question of foreign 
attachments. During March, 1773, the upper house 
complained because the lower house had thrown out the 
following clause in a bill which provided for the divis- 
ion of the province into six districts for superior courts : 
"And be it further enacted that the estate of no person 
whatsoever, who has never resided in North Carolina, 
shall be liable to an attachment otherwise than by the 
laws and statutes of England in like cases, and that 
every clause and section in the before recited act shall 
be repealed. ' ' The lower house, while agreeing to con- 
cur with all the other suggestions of the upper house, 
would not permit the above clause to be inserted. It 
claimed that it was inconsistent with the commercial 

iC. R. VI, 845-51, 854. 


interests of the province to give up the benefit attach- 
ing the effects of those not residing in North Carolina, 
and that such a right was exercised by the other col- 
onies. 1 This claim, with the rejection of the above 
named clause, is evidence that the lower house was de- 
manding practical regulation of judicial matters and 
that it claimed rights independent of the council, gov- 
ernor and crown. The council would not allow the 
claim and rejected the bill; 2 they were willing to grant 
foreign attachments, provided they were according to 
the customs and laws of England, but beyond this they 
were not yet ready to go. In December of the same 
year this question came up again, and both houses still 
insisted upon their former ideas. 3 But during the 
March session of 1774 the upper house yielded some- 
what to the demands of the lower house and a comprom- 
ise was reached. 4 Prior to this the upper house had 
maintained the rights of the crown and governor, and 
was, therefore, a unit with the governor in his struggle 
against the encroachments of the lower house. But 
now the councillors were beginning to take the side of 
the colonists as against the crown administration, and 
were ready to compromise with the representatives of 
the people on judicial questions. 

The governor and the lower house were in conflict 
over the questions of representation in the legislature, 
and what should constitute a quorum, which may be for 

i C. R. IX, 427, 435-37. 

2 C. R. IX, 438. 

3C. R. IX, 721-22, 726-33. 

«C. R. IX, 844-46, 849-50, 853-54, 857. 


convenience called constitutional privileges. These 
arose under Dobbs, Tryon and Martin ; they were never 
critical, though at times annoying, and were never fully 
settled. In 1760 the lower house practically claimed 
that the crown had no right to compel counties and 
towns to take out charters of incorporation from the 
governor before they were entitled to representation in 
the legislature. Dobbs declared that this claim was 
contrary to the rights of the crown, and opposed to the 
instructions from the crown. 1 He was correct in his 
position, at least his declaration was backed up by spe- 
cific instructions from the crown, and the lower house 
almost ceased to press its claim. 2 The question of the 
quorum was of far more importance. In 1760 Dobbs 
asked that the lower house act with fifteen as a quorum. 
It refused to do so and denied his right of determining 
what should constitute a quorum. It claimed that it 
was its own right to decide upon this; and at times it 
would allow twenty-five to act and again it would not 
make a move towards discharging business without a 
majority of its entire number. 3 In 1764 and 1773 it 
again refused to act with a quorum of fifteen as the gov- 
ernor asked. 4 The lower house in taking such a posi- 
tion was acting directly contrary to the instructions 
from the crown, which specifically stated that fifteen 
members should constitute a quorum. 5 But as this was 
a point of considerable importance it would not obey the 

i C. R. VI, 245. 

*C. R. VI, 724, 985-90; V, 1111. 

»C. R. VI, 319-24, 344-45. 

*C. R. VI, 1024-25; IX, 595-96. 

5C. R. V, 1111. 


crown, and would not act without a majority, or at least 
twenty-five, of its number. It was much more difficult 
for the governor to control from twenty-five to thirty- 
five members than fifteen; with a small quorum he 
might easily pass acts against the interests of the col- 
onists it was thought, but with a large one it was almost 
impossible to do so. 

The two houses did not dispute over representation 
in the legislature or what should constitute a quorum, 
but they did become involved in a conflict over the ques- 
tion of examining public claims and accounts. The 
chief instance of this was in 1762. The lower house 
appointed ten of its number as a committee on accounts, 
and eleven on claims, while the upper house appointed 
only three of its members on each. Should each house 
committee act separately and independently of the other 
in their examination of claims and accounts! It was 
upon this question that a dispute arose. The upper 
house claimed that its committees had equal rights in 
this with those of the lower house, though their number 
was by no means as large, and that its committees could 
act by themselves or jointly, as they liked. The lower 
house denied this claim, at least so far as separate and 
independent action was concerned. 1 If the upper 
house members could act only in conjunction with the 
lower house members, the balance of power would cer- 
tainly be with the lower house, as ten or eleven to three 
was a very large majority. The lower house did not 
ask for so much power as would be given it by this 
arrangement, but it did demand a substantial control 

1 C. R. VI, 824-26. 


in the examination of all public claims and accounts 
upon the ground that it represented the people who had 
to pay these ; and this control was at several times al- 
lowed by the upper house. 

We have now seen that the conflicts between the ex- 
ecutive, the governor and council, and the lower house 
of the legislature arose from their different points of 
view on questions of land, fees, money, agent, courts 
and judges, and constitutional privileges. The fact has 
been made apparent that the governor and the council 
were practically a unit in their point of view and in 
their attempts to maintain the rights and interests of 
the crown; and this we should most naturally expect, 
as they were both the agents of the crown. The atti- 
tude of the executive toward the lower house was for 
the most part supported by precedents and in substan- 
tial accordance with the royal instructions; and these 
instructions constituted the chief guide of the executive. 
In some respects these were very specific, and the ex- 
ecutive must act according to them, if possible. In 
other respects much was left to the interpretation and 
discretion of the executive. Conflicts arose between 
the executive and the lower house both over the specific 
clauses and those in the interpretation of which the ex- 
ecutive was to use its discretion. The lower house in 
questioning or denying the one was attacking the policy 
of the crown, but in disputing over the other it was 
merely doubting the interpretation of the officers of the 
crown who resided in the province. The fact has also 
been made apparent that the lower house acted in sym- 
pathy with the colonists, maintaining their rights and 


interests. Many of their claims were not founded on 
a strong legal basis, but appear rather as assumptions 
when looked at from the purely constitutional stand- 
point. But there was to the minds of the colonists 
something greater and nobler than the English public 
law as applied to a royal province in the eighteenth 
century — the principles of freedom and independence— 
and during the whole of the royal period the lower 
house in denying the rights of the crown defended its 
action by appealing to these principles. 


The Downfall of the Eoyal Government. 

As we have seen, the royal government of North 
Carolina came in most quietly, but its end was amid 
conflicts and disturbances of a serious kind— in revolu- 
tion. It was by this revolution that the crown gov- 
ernment went down in several other American prov- 
inces. Out of this came forth the independent states 
and the nation of the American people. The downfall 
of the crown's administration in North Carolina, as 
well as in the other provinces, is to be studied in the his- 
tory and development of the governor, council and 
lower house of the legislature, and in the development 
of the conflicts between the executive and the lower 
house, the chief points of which have already been 
under consideration. This downfall is also to be 
studied in the general constitutional and commercial 
policies of England toward her colonies, and these will 
now be discussed. 

We have seen that the executive and the lower house 
had disputes, though never of a very serious kind, over 
certain questions which might be called constitutional 
questions. These arose particularly under Dobbs, 
Tryon and Martin, from 1760 to 1773. Among these 
was whether the crown had the right to compel counties 
and towns to take out charters of incorporation, from 



the governor, before they could send delegates to the 
house of representatives. After some disputes over 
this point, the lower house practically yielded. Over 
the question of a quorum there was a much greater dis- 
pute, and this continued during the last fifteen years 
of the royal period and at its close was still unsettled. 
The lower house did not to any considerable degree 
yield its claims, that it alone had the right to decide 
what should constitute a quorum ; it seldom allowed the 
number as designated by the crown to be the actual 
one. 1 

Along with these disputes and the conflicts arising 
over land, fees, money, agents, courts and judges, there 
was always another question ; and this, though not very 
specific, was of fundamental importance. Underlying 
all of the relations of the colonists to the crown 
was this general question: how far do the crown's 
instructions to its officers in the province constitute 
law! The claim of the administrative boards in Eng- 
land and of the British officers in the colony was in the 
main to the effect that these instructions were to be as 
binding upon the colonists as if they were acts of par- 
liament, while the colonists very frequently either ques- 
tioned or denied this. In support of their position the 
colonists went back to the English common law, the 
customs of the province and their charters. These to 
their way of thinking made up their constitution and 
were more fundamental than acts of parliament, espe- 
cially than the royal instructions to the governors. 

* C. R. V, 116-7, 301-03, 352, 398, 404-07, 1111; VI, 245, 319-24, 
344-45, 724, 985-90, 1024-25; IX, 595-96. 


Many are the instances wherein the crown officers and 
the colonists took different points of view on this ques- 
tion—as to what really constituted their fundamental 
law. The former insisted rigidly upon certain instruc- 
tions, while the latter frequently fell back upon "nat- 
ural" justice and law, whatever these might mean. 
The instructions from the crown officers were as a 
matter of fact based largely upon the laws of England, 
though they were far less definite than these laws. 
Though less definite, still in the eyes of the crown offi- 
cials they were to be just as binding upon the colonists 
as the acts of parliament, and at times more so. In 
this respect, therefore, a difference was made between 
the colonists and Englishmen residing in England. 
To the latter the source of the government and of the 
laws was now parliament. By this time the really 
sovereign power had been taken from the king and 
given to the legislative body. It is true that George 
III. attempted to regain this for the king, but his at- 
tempts had not been fundamentally successful. Though 
this was true in regard to Englishmen at home, it was 
by no means so with the colonists. Over these the 
king still held much prerogative— that is he could act 
much more independently of parliament in his relations 
with the provinces than in his relations with England. 
Also the members of parliament were far less rigid in 
their interpretation of the constitution for the colonists 
than for Englishmen residing at home. Public opinion 
in England for the most part approved of this, and 
practically all parties took it as a matter of fact that the 
colonists were subjects of England— dependents. On 


the other hand the colonists claimed the same privileges, 
rights, and liberties as Englishmen living at home. 1 

This difference in the view point as to what consti- 
tuted the fundamental law was early manifested in 
North Carolina, and as other elements came into con- 
flict this was more and more strongly brought out. On 
this point neither side exactly understood or appreci- 
ated the other's position, and instead of coming to- 
gether on it they tended farther and farther apart. 
This difference became very striking and important 
from 1763 to the end of the period. Not only was this 
true of North Carolina, but it was also substantially 
true of all the other royal provinces and to an extent 
of the proprietary colonies. By 1763 the idea of popu- 
lar sovereignty had obtained a great hold upon many 
of the American colonists. Popular sovereignty as an 
idea had been in vogue for several years, but the per- 
sonal loyalty for the king on the part of the colonists 
had kept it as an idea; it now became an active and 
living principle. This principle, coming almost simul- 
taneously to many of the provinces, tended to unite 
them, and also to make the crown the less ready to 
yield to the demands of the colonists, as yielding in one 
case meant yielding in many cases. By this time the 
English colonists were left as masters of practically 
the whole of North America. The French had been 
conquered at the north and Florida at the south had 

1 Anson's The Law and Custom II, 32-42; Reflexions on Representa- 
tion in Parliament, 1-46; Remarks on the Review of the Controversy, 
1-130; North Carolina Gazette, 1773, in McRee's Iredell I, 178-80; 
Tyler's Literary History I, 47-52, 63-69, 70-77. 


been given up by Spain. There was, therefore, no 
longer a great outside force to compel them to rely 
upon England for assistance ; and besides they had dis- 
covered during the fourth intercolonial war what 
strength they themselves had when united. Prior to 
this time they had never been united, even for a short 
period. The colonies had been more attached to Eng- 
land than to one another. Similar struggles between 
their assemblies and the governors over land, finance, 
justice and other important problems, had for some 
time tended to bring about something of a feeling of- 
union. It was now war, and war for a duration of more 
than six years, which finally united them in spirit. 
After its close they were still Englishmen and loyal to 
the English crown, but they were no longer willing to 
have many restraints placed upon their political free- 
dom, which for more than a half century had been 
greater to the colonists than to Englishmen residing in 
their mother country. 1 

As has been stated, this difference of opinion as to 
what made up the fundamental law, according to which 
the colonists should in a general way be governed, was 
seen during the first years of the royal administration 
and at many different times thereafter. It was mani- 
fested upon the occasion of the disallowance or repeal 
by the crown of certain acts passed by the provincial 
assembly. The famous biennial act of 1715-1716 was 
disallowed in 1737, the first two royal governors advis- 
ing to this effect, upon the ground of its taking away 
from the crown certain privileges. This was an act 

i Lecky's History of England, III, 290-328. 


providing for a new assembly every two years, and 
regulating the method of the elections and the qualifi- 
cations of the electors and the representatives. 1 Both 
the crown and the colonists claimed that these spe- 
cial privileges belonged respectively to themselves. 
Though this act was repealed, more to substantiate the 
claim of the home government than for any other 
reason, still acts with many of the same provisions 
were passed and allowed in 1743, and again in 1760. 2 
In 1754 twenty-six acts were repealed by the king's 
proclamation, and these were for the most part acts 
erecting counties and towns and granting them the 
privilege of sending representatives to the legislature. 3 
This was done upon the ground that the granting of 
such a right belonged exclusively to the crown, not to 
the provincial assembly. Within two years, however, 
the governor was instructed to request the legislature 
to establish these counties and towns, provided that 
the right of issuing letters of incorporation to them, 
upon which their privilege of legislative representation 
depended, was reserved to the crown. 4 Five acts were 
disallowed by the crown in 1759, three of which 
erected courts of justice. These were points of funda- 
mental importance, and both the colonists and the home 
government were striving after the greatest possible 
control over them. Acts on the same subject were re- 
pealed in 1761 and again in 1762, and for the same gen- 

i C. R. Ill, 206-07; IV, 25, 251; Swann, 2; MS. Laws. 

"Swann, 177-80; Davis, 1765, II, 198-202. 

3C. R. V, 115-17. 

*C. R. V, 407, 659; Davis, 1765, II, 86-88. 


eral reason. During the latter part of 1762, however, 
acts erecting courts and defining their jurisdiction were 
passed and allowed, and in these acts the colonists 
yielded to the demands of the crown. 1 Another act 
erecting courts was passed in 1768-1769 with a special 
clause providing for the attachment of the goods of for- 
eigners. Over this point a great constitutional battle 
was to be waged. This act, at least an important part 
of it, was deemed by the home government to be a pure 
assumption on the part of the provincial assembly, and 
Governor Martin was specially instructed to refuse his 
assent to any further acts containing such provisions. 2 
There were several other acts which were disallowed 
or repealed by the crown, but most of these had in- 
volved in them no important constitutional points or 
results. Doubtless, however, the repeal of the act of 
1771, allowing Presbyterian ministers to perform the 
marriage ceremony, and the repeal of the acts of the 
same year founding and endowing Queen's College in 
Mecklenburg County— a college for Presbyterians— 
had some influence in driving the frontier settlers away 
from the support of the royal government. It is cer- 
tain that the Presbyterians of this county were among 
the first to revolt against the British colonial policy and 
system, 3 though exactly how far they were influenced 
by the repeal of these acts is not known. 

With this difference in the point of view concerning 
certain constitutional problems went also a difference 

1 C. R. V, 700-02, 707, 1049. 

2 C. R. VIII, 264-65 ; IX, 230-36. 

»C. R. IX, 7, 250-51, 284-85, 597, 665; Davis, 1773, 455, 480. 


of opinion in regard to commercial questions and poli- 
cies. During the eighteenth century, certainly until 
the appearance of Adam Smith's very famous work — 
"Wealth of Nations" — which came from the press in 
1776, England was under the control of the mercantile 
doctrines of economic thought. It was under Crom- 
well as lord protector that such a policy was adopted in 
England on a grand scale, and many other European 
countries were then acting according to its principles. 
It was in fact to become the fighting instrument of 
England against Holland, a country which had for 
some time been the wealthiest and greatest in com- 
merce of all the European peoples. One of the chief 
forces in giving Holland this position of supremacy had 
been the mercantilist policy. The nations were now 
ceasing to fight each other with the weapons of war; 
their struggles were in commercial policies. During 
the latter half of the seventeenth century and the first 
seventy-five years of the eighteenth England was strong 
and vigorous under such a policy. The eighteenth cen- 
tury was for England a period of great expansion ; her 
chief energies were now spent not at home but in carry- 
ing out her commercial and colonial policies, in North 
America and Asia, in struggling for the mastery over 
France, her great rival. A selfish and narrow trade 
policy, one which would tend to enrich herself alone, 
was, therefore, most natural, as her great expansion 
demanded vast sums of money. 1 

The first decided attempt to carry out such a commer- 

1 Egerton's British Colonial Policy, 61-62; Seeley's Expansion, 9, 
20; Cunningham's Eng. Industry and Commerce, Mod. Times, 256-58. 


cial policy was in 1651, when the first navigation ordi- 
nance was passed. This act was for the encourage- 
ment of English shipping against that of Holland. It 
did not directly work against the colonies. The act of 
nine years later was intended to promote English manu- 
facturing as well as shipping, and, therefore, brought 
the provinces more closely within its influence. Now 
for the first time were the mercantilist doctrines and 
principles to be applied to the colonies. By the act of 
1660, not only were English goods, exported or im- 
ported, to be carried in English ships exclusively, but 
sugar, tobacco, cotton, wool, indigo and dye staffs— 
colonial products— were also restricted to a small mar- 
ket. It was forbidden that they be transported to any 
places except England or another English province. 1 
Nor was this the end of such a policy. The act of 
about three years later declared that no European 
goods were to be transported to the provinces unless 
they were first landed in England and then reexported. 2 
England thereby received the benefits of the customs 
duties and freight rates. 

Such a policy, therefore, regarded the colonists as 
subjects of England and to be used for the special 
benefit of the mother country in enriching her and in 
aiding her to triumph over her commercial and indus- 
trial rivals. From the year 1660 it had been claimed 
that the very reason for the existence of the colonies 
was the support which they could give England. Their 
industries were under rigid regulations, based upon 

lEgerton, 61, 68-71; 12 Charles II, c. 18. 
2 Egerton, 71-72; 15 Charles II, c. 7. 


the mercantilist doctrines ; the home government placed 
great restraints npon certain finished products and 
granted liberal bounties upon others— as a rule the raw 
products for which she had great need. l The colonies, 
therefore, must not become competitors of England, 
but must render her the maximum support in her ship- 
building, manufacturing and trading. This policy, 
wherein state control and interference in all kinds of 
economic activity were dominant ideas, was repugnant 
to many of the colonists, especially so when such a sys- 
tem was at all successfully carried out. This had much 
to do with creating and keeping alive the spirit of revolt 
and of revolution among the colonists. 2 

There is, however, little evidence of North Carolina 
offering protests to the general principles of this com- 
mercial policy, and none whatever to its principles as 
incorporated in the navigation acts. Her life during 
the seventeenth century was on too small a scale to be 
much affected by such a system. There is also com- 
paratively little evidence of opposition to the acts of 
trade of the eighteenth century, as her economic activ- 
ity was of such a kind as to suffer little by these, and 
to escape them was easy. The woolens act of 1699, 3 
forbidding any woolens manufactured by the colonists 
to be transported to England or any other English 
province; the act of 1719, forbidding the colonists to 
make iron of any form, and the later acts 4 which sub- 
stituted duties in the place of such a prohibition; the 

1 Egerton, 2. 

2 Ingram's Hist. Pol. Econ., 36-54; Marshall's Econ. I, 41; Egerton, 
3; Cunningham, 332. 

3 10 William III, c. 16. 
* 23 George II, c. 29. 


act of 1732 l against the exportation of hats from any 
province ; and finally the sugar act of 1733, 2 which laid 
a duty on all rum and spirits manufactured by other 
than English colonies upon their importation into any 
English province, and also a duty upon all sugars, mo- 
lasses and syrups imported,— none of these acts of the 
British parliament seem to have produced any special 
and direct effect upon North Carolina, certainly not in 
alienating her from the mother country. Several of 
these were not well executed. North Carolina pro- 
duced few of the articles included in their lists and 
had fine chances for smuggling. 3 Nor did the later 
trade acts have material effect upon the colonists of 
this province. 

The colonists of North Carolina did, however, pro- 
test and revolt against the restrictions placed upon 
their issuing bills of credit, and especially against the 
stamp act, which placed a tax upon their business or 
legal transactions. As yet the home government had 
not levied a tax upon her provinces except in the indi- 
rect way of customs duties. But now George III., with 
Grenville in control of the treasury, was eager to make 
a great display, by a more vigorous commercial policy, 
by extending the power of England over her provinces 
and by taxing them. The system of colonial defence 
must be greatly improved, and this was to be done by 
means of the revenues from stamp taxes collected from 
the colonists. The great leaders of England, how- 

» 5 George II, e. 22. 
2 6 George II, c. 13. 

3C. R. IV, 156, 169-72; V, 316; VI, 968, 1021-33; VII, 429; VIII, 
154, 496. 


ever, were by no means all in favor of this policy and 
method; 1 Chatham and Burke were especially opposed 
to them. 2 The king and Grenville proposed to have a 
permanent body of soldiers in the provinces, and that 
these be supported and supplied with provisions of war 
by the colonists. Though it was fair that the colonists 
should help in maintaining a standing army for British 
colonial defence, still the stamp act, whereby duties 
were levied with which to support such an army, was 
passed at a most inopportune time. The colonists 
themselves had rendered much assistance in defeating 
the French and thereby adding a vast area to the 
English domains. As a matter of fact, however, no one 
then knew that this would be the end of the struggle 
for the mastery of North America ; perhaps the French 
and Indians might make further efforts at war. But 
it seemed to the colonists that this proposed standing 
army was to be used more for the purpose of aiding 
the English colonial customs officers, in putting an end 
to the smuggling which had been going on upon a great 
scale, than in defending the colonies against any fur- 
ther attacks by the Indians or French. The trade acts 
of 1699-1750 had been very poorly executed, and the 
spirit of smuggling was growing stronger. It was 
manifesting violence when Grenville came into power. 
His policy of extending England's influence, of unify- 
ing and controlling all of the provinces, and of enforc- 
ing a narrow and selfish trade system, was at once op- 
posed by this spirit. His attempts to carry out such 
a policy were ill-timed and unwise. The colonists had 

iEgerton, 178-202. 

2 Speeches, Brit. Orations. 


for a long time enjoyed much self-government and 
practical independence ; now they felt the spirit of this 
independence more than ever before. They had seen 
much evidence of their power when united against a 
common enemy; the fourth intercolonial war was re- 
garded by them as a substantial victory for themselves. 
Prior to 1764 parliament had exercised limited control 
over them and now it was very difficult to make this 
greater and more efficient; it meant resistance. Also 
prior to 1750, the ministers in England had given 
rather little intelligent attention to the provincial af- 
fairs. Certainly Walpole and Newcastle, 1715-1750, 
had done so. 1 Now to carry out a different policy, to 
enforce all of the laws in a rigid manner, even by plac- 
ing a standing army among the colonists, to tax them 
for its support,— all this was fundamentally different 
from the customs of more than a half century and was 
much opposed to the privileges which had been ac- 
quired during this time. So great and almost univer- 
sal was the opposition of the colonists to such a plan, 
and especially to the stamp act, that it was repealed 
within a very short time after its passage. To this act 
North Carolina for the first time offered a serious pro- 
test, and this now in the shape of a strong and general 
revolt against the execution of its provisions. Hith- 
erto her colonists had for the most part been obedient 
to the acts of parliament. 2 

i Lecky III, 328-53. 

2 Egerton, 201-02; Reflexions on Representation in Parliament, 1-46; 
Remarks on the Review of the Controversy, 1-30; The Necessity, etc., 
1-46; Moore, the Justice and Policy of Taxing the Am. Cols., 1-16; 
Tyler I, 41-44, 63-69, 94-99, 101-111. 


Upon the arrival of the news of the passage of the 
act, the people of North Carolina, as well as of the 
other colonies, were ready to protest and even to rebel, 
not so much against parliament as against the conduct 
of the king's ministers. This spirit of protest and re- 
volt had more to do in uniting the colonies than any 
other force. The act was opposed to an extent be- 
cause it meant taxes, but to a greater degree because of 
the principles involved. For the colonists to recognize 
such an act and allow it to go into effect meant a full 
recognition on their part of the right of parliament 
and of the crown officers in England not only to regu- 
late the colonial shipping and manufacturing, as had 
been done in the navigation and trade acts, but also to 
enter their internal life, to tax, and, therefore, to regu- 
late their private business transactions. It meant the 
giving up of the privileges which they had for many 
years enjoyed and consequently were inclined to think 
their own ; it meant that the colonists had no rights and 
privileges apart from those that the parliament and the 
administrative bodies in England were willing to grant 
them ; it meant that their long standing claim, that they 
had a constitution independent of royal instructions 
and parliamentary acts was to be given up forever. 1 
This tax was justified on the ground that England had 
been to a great expense in founding and protecting the 
colonies and could, therefore, with justice tax them. 
Most probably the real reason, though not avowed, was 
that the home government was in very pressing need 

i 5 George III, c. 12; C. R. VII, 123-24; Moore, The Justice and 
Policy of Taxing the Am. Cols., 1-16. 


for more revenue, as her policy of expansion had been 
most expensive. On the other hand it was claimed, 
even by such a leader as Chatham, that the colonies had 
already paid for all of their founding and protection, 
out of their intimate and dependent trade relations with 
England. 1 

Whether or not the act was passed in justice, the 
colonists of North Carolina proceeded to acts of vio- 
lence when the stamps arrived. Upon their arrival at 
Wilmington, the stamp master was compelled by a large 
crowd of people to take an oath to the effect that he 
would distribute none of them, and later he resigned 
his office. Effigies of him and of the advocates of 
the tax were burned in several different parts of the 
province, and there were other manifestations of oppo- 
sition and even of violence. So great was the feeling 
of protest and of revolt that Governor Tryon felt called 
upon to use all of his diplomacy, and he was very clever 
in this, to keep the people from acts of great violence. 
He made them promises to the effect that, as they could 
not afford to pay such heavy taxes, he would use his 
best endeavors with the authorities at home for their 
repeal or modification. 2 The reply which was made to 
him by the leaders was that the colonists were still 
loyal to the king, but that this loyalty was that of a free, 
not of a dependent, people ; that the act was unconstitu- 
tional and oppressive and took away rights and privi- 
leges which belonged to all Englishmen. In this they 
gave very decided evidence of a difference of opinion 

1 Speech, Brit. Orations ; The Necessity, etc., 1-46. 
2C. E. VII, 124-8, 130-31. 


as to what made up the constitution. In fact in de- 
claring the act unconstitutional the colonists were set- 
ting themselves up as the final interpreters of their 
fundamental law. Not only did they make declaration 
to this effect, but they also declared that nothing but a 
repeal of the act would relieve the situation, and that if 
this was not done, resistance and violence would follow. 
To this end a good many of the colonists took an oath. ' 
As we have seen, the stamp-master for Wilmington 
resigned his office, in fear of violence to himself. When 
the stamps arrived there on the twenty-eighth day of 
November, 1765, they remained on board the British 
sloop Diligence, as no one would take the office of 
stamp-master, either because of opposition to the taxes 
or because of the insults and perhaps violence which 
would come to him from his fellow citizens. The com- 
mander of the king's sloop, not being allowed to land 
the stamps, placed restrictions upon the shipping of the 
Cape Fear River, in fact forbade any ships to enter 
and clear until they had used the required stamps on 
their clearance papers. This caused another outburst 
of unpopular feeling against the act, especially against 
its execution in any manner whatever. During Febru- 
ary of the next year a large crowd of people gathered at 
Brunswick, the port of Wilmington, for the purpose of 
condemning such restrictions upon their trade and of 
declaring their grievances against the ministry in Eng- 
land. They finally came to a compromise with the 
king's commander in regard to the trade hindrances. 
He removed all these until an investigation should be 

i C. R. VII, 128-30. 


made by the royal surveyor-general of customs. But 
still the colonists were not satisfied. They compelled 
the collector, naval officer and controller of customs to 
take an oath to the effect that they would not attempt to 
execute the stamp law until it had been accepted by the 
legislature of the province, which of course would never 
happen. All of this called forth Tryon's diplomatic 
skill. This being used upon the chief leaders had the 
effect of keeping order and preventing violent conduct. 
It was, however, the repeal of the act which had most 
to do in bringing about peace. 1 

"When once relieved, the province continued in peace 
with the crown administration until 1773, if we except 
the "regulators" on the western frontier. Still the 
colonists believed in their sovereign rights, especially 
concerning taxes. 2 Nor was North Carolina alone in 
this. Virginia and Maryland, in 1769-1770, passed cer- 
tain resolves concerning the rights and powers of the 
crown and of the proprietor, copies of which were sent 
to the legislature of North Carolina. The Sons of 
Liberty, local organizations of the colonists of South 
Carolina, at about the same time, were writing letters 
to the other provinces on the same topics. In these 
resolves and letters one idea was very distinct— that 
parliament and the ministers of the king were wholly 
disregarding the real question of the provinces. This 
idea had much to do in creating and fostering the spirit 
of union among the colonists. 3 

i C. R. VII, 143, 168c-68e, 169-77, 179-99, 222-23, 232, 242-43, 877- 
79, 980-82. 

2 C. R. VIII, 122-24, 170-71. 

3 C. R. VIII, 41, 158-59, 197-98. 


The " regulation' ' troubles of 1768-1771 have already 
been mentioned. By most of the historians it has been 
asserted that they were a revolt against the crown's ad- 
ministration of the province, the first of the real revo- 
lutionary acts against Great Britain. But such a view 
is not based to any considerable extent upon the facts 
in the case, though it has been supported by more his- 
torical writing than almost any other event of the 
whole colonial period. The war of the "regulation" 
was an insurrection or an uprising among some of the 
settlers in the western counties, something of a peas- 
ants' revolt. It was not directed against the British 
policy and government, or even against that of Gov- 
ernor Tryon, but against the administration of justice 
and the finances by certain county officers, who were 
acting to a great extent for their own personal gain. 
The grievances of the "regulators" were high taxes, 
dishonest sheriffs and extortionate fees for justice, and 
their revolt was specifically against these, not at all 
against the principles of the crown's government. 
The fact that they had little currency with which to 
pay their taxes and fees added to their burdens ; they 
were small farmers on the frontier and consequently 
far away from markets. Though they had an abund- 
ance with which to support themselves still their 
supply of money was very small. 1 

Most of the colonists were quiet and loyal to the 
crown for several years after the repeal of the stamp 
act, but still the idea and spirit of popular sovereignty 
were being exalted. When Governor Martin arrived 

iC. R. VII, 718-19, 721, 887-88; VIII, 1-574, passim, 574-621; 
Bassett's Regulators. 


in the province, during the latter part of 1771, he found 
this spirit very strong, though under good restraint. 
In fact this spirit was abroad among all of the prov- 
inces, and it was tending to bring them under one com- 
mon bond. Against such a spirit Martin was to work. 
Though with the best of purposes and intentions he 
was at times quite stubborn, and he found the same dis- 
position among many of the colonists and their repre- 
sentatives. His administration failed and the crown 
government went down in disaster under him. Most 
probably this would have been the case under any one 
as governor; the time for this seems to have come in 
the other colonies as well as in North Carolina. The 
revolutionary spirit was rife in Massachusetts and else- 
where in New England, and the colonists of the north 
did their utmost to stir up this spirit in the southern 
provinces. England, never having understood or ap- 
preciated this spirit, was also acting with much stub- 
bornness and without much intelligent statesmanship. 
The mistakes of her colonial policy for a hundred years 
and the natural tendencies to independence among the 
colonists now opposed her colonial administrative sys- 
tem, and their combined force could not be withstood; 
her constitutional means of control failed and the con- 
tests were to be transferred from the administrative 
offices to the field of battle. 

There were two important points in the final strug- 
gle in North Carolina— finances and justice. Over 
these Governor Martin and the lower house of the legis- 
lature had bitter and serious disputes. The chief 
points of these have been under consideration in an- 


other connection. Here they will be discussed only in 
their general bearing upon the downfall of the royal 
government. 1 

By the beginning of Martin's administration the fi- 
nances had come to be in a very bad condition. Dobbs 
had left a large debt, and Tryon had added to it con- 
siderably. As we have seen, Martin and the lower 
house soon became involved in a dispute over special 
taxes connected with the sinking of a part of this in- 
debtedness, the bills of credit issued in 1748 and 1754. 
The lower house, having the idea that a sufficient 
amount had been collected for the payment of these 
bills, passed an act discontinuing the taxes. Martin, 
having a different understanding of the fiscal status, 
disallowed its act. The lower house evidently ex- 
pected such action on the part of the governor, and had 
resolved upon instructions to be sent to the collectors 
of taxes, to the effect that they should no longer be col- 
lected. It also indemnified any officers who might be 
sued by the chief executive on the grounds of disobe- 
dience or neglect. 2 Governor Martin, who perhaps had 
the correct idea of the situation, by proclamation or- 
dered that the said taxes be collected. Neither party 
would yield its point and, therefore, no compromise 
could be reached. The same issue was presented again 
during the latter part of 1773, and with the same re- 
sults. 3 Both parties claimed that they had the ulti- 

iSee Sikes, Transition, 11-14, 18-41, for a much fuller and some- 
what different statement. 

»C. R. IX, 233, 329. 

3C. R. IX, 301, 742-43, 943-44, 954-55, 982-83; North Carolina a 
Royal Province, 60-61. 


mate regulation of fiscal affairs. This point was so 
fundamentally important to each side that to yield it 
meant a surrender of a most vital principle. The lower 
house in its position was now in general agreement 
with its former interpretation of the constitutional law 
—that it was something apart from the instructions of 
the crown to the governors and the parliamentary acts, 
that it belonged to the sovereignty of the colonists. 
Ultimate control of the public moneys is about as great 
a power as that of collecting them by taxation; either 
one is the privilege of a sovereign body. For Martin 
to yield to the lower house meant a full recognition of 
this claim to sovereignty on the part of the colonists, 
and of course he was not ready to do this. Nor did 
the crown give up this point until the treaty of peace 
of 1783, after a struggle of seven years on the field of 

But it was upon questions of the courts and their 
jurisdiction that the greatest conflicts occurred, and 
upon these the crown government went down in disas- 
ter. Justice, as well as the finances, is very closely 
connected with the real life of any body politic; the 
judicial and fiscal systems are the great foundation 
stones of any province or state. But the system of jus- 
tice in the province of North Carolina had a rather 
unstable existence, in spite of its vital importance. 
The laws for the erection of courts were rarely for 
longer periods than two years, and these laws the gov- 
ernor could reject and the crown disallow or repeal. 
Consequently questions of the administration of justice 
were very frequently before the assembly and almost 



as frequently under contention between the executive 
and the representatives of the colonists. As we have 
seen, these became of very absorbing interest under 
Governor Martin. When he arrived the system of 1768 
was in operation, and this was in many respects like 
the former ones, though it was for five years' dura- 
tion. The act which provided for this contained a 
clause concerning foreign attachments which, though at 
the time of passage received little consideration, was 
afterwards to become the subject of a great struggle— 
a veritable rock upon which the royal government went 
to pieces. 1 

In the assembly of the early part of 1773 a bill was 
introduced for the renewal of the system, mainly upon 
the same lines as those of the act of five years earlier. 
Now the clause providing for the attachment of the 
goods of foreigners became at once the bone of great 
contention, as it was contrary to the crown's instruc- 
tions. 2 By these instructions the province was allowed 
only those privileges of attachment which were estab- 
lished by the laws of England in similar cases. The 
larger English towns had long had the custom of at- 
taching the goods or debts of a debtor in the hands of a 
third party, having this privilege not by the laws of 
England— that is by acts of parliament— but by grants 
of the kings issued to them; it had been their only 
means of securing the payment of debts due from for- 
eign merchants. 3 It should be stated that this privi- 

iC. R. IX, 373. 

2C. R. IX, 235-36, 378; Martin II, 294. 

sBohun, Privilegia Londoni, 252-55; also Locke, Foreign Attach- 
ments, 19. 


lege did not exist by the laws of England strictly speak- 
ing, and to grant to North Carolina only those privi- 
leges provided for in these laws was to grant very lit- 
tle. The province could not by such a plan enjoy any 
right of foreign attachment worth consideration. The 
king in his instructions to Governor Martin was not, 
therefore, allowing the colonists by any means the same 
privileges as the commercial towns of England had for 
a long time enjoyed. In the struggle which went on 
in the legislature over this point the upper house at first 
was opposed to the claims of the lower house, but later 
it yielded to the extent of signing an act providing for 
the attachment of the goods of foreigners, as far as was 
allowed in England, provided that it contain a clause 
suspending its execution until the crown expressed its 
opinion upon the point at issue. 1 The governor, 
mainly to bring the matter before the law officers at 
home, gave his assent, but this act was soon disallowed 
by the king in council, and upon the advice of the crown 
lawyers. 2 This was unmistakable evidence that the 
crown would not yield to the demands of the colonists. 
Pending this decision the province must have courts 
of some kind, and the matter of providing them for the 
time was at once taken up. The conflicts again became 
strong and bitter; nothing was accomplished and the 
assembly was dissolved. 3 The colony was now left 
without any general courts. Only the minor courts of 
magistrates were in operation, and these were very lim- 

iC. R. IX, 436, 558-60. 

*C. R. IX, 670. 

3 C. R. IX, 534, 578-79, 581, 587, 595-96, 619-32. 


ited in their jurisdiction. Crimes and offences went 
unpunished and consequently became more frequent. 1 
To relieve this situation the governor issued commis- 
sions of oyer and terminer for the trial of the criminals 
then in the prisons, but this action at once became the 
subject of much discussion by the leaders of the oppo- 
sition and became another item of opposition to the 
crown administration. 2 When the new assembly— and 
there were many of the members of the former one in 
it— met in December, 1773, the situation had changed 
very little. While the upper house was still largely in 
favor of the crown's instructions concerning the ques- 
tion of foreign attachments, the lower house was more 
determined to carry its point; its members declared 
that their conduct had been strongly approved by their 
constituents. 3 They not only refused to compromise 
with the governor— and in this their spirit of independ- 
ence was very decided and strong— but they also ap- 
pointed a standing committee of correspondence which 
should keep in close touch with similar committees in 
the other provinces and especially keep well informed 
in regard to every act of the British government. For 
this, as well as for their very vigorous opposition to his 
requests, Governor Martin prorogued the assembly. 
Nothing had been accomplished during a session of sev- 
enteen days, and the province was again left without 
courts and with all the consequences attending such a 

i C. R. IX, 625, 686. 

2 C. E. IX, 686-87, 699-706. 

3C. R. IX, 711, 729, 738, 742-43. 


condition. 1 Peace and order were to be preserved only 
at the will of the colonists. 

At the next meeting of the legislature, early in the 
next year, the same problem again presented itself, and, 
as the disposition of the lower house was still un- 
changed, again nothing could be accomplished concern- 
ing an act for erecting superior courts. The upper 
house was now beginning to take sides with the repre- 
sentatives of the people. Though no compromise could 
be reached upon superior courts, the attachment clause 
being the reason for the failure, still both parties came 
to an agreement upon acts providing for inferior courts 
of pleas and quarter sessions and also for sessions of 
oyer and terminer. The province was, therefore, 
again to have the benefits of a system of justice, though 
very incomplete. 2 The assembly was now prorogued 
to the 25th of May, but it did not meet again at that time, 
as Governor Martin saw no hope of its accomplishing 
any results which would be beneficial to the crown. 
His delay in calling it into session was severely de- 
nounced by many of the political leaders. They were 
very anxious to have another opportunity of opposing 
his administration and of declaring their grievances 
against the king's ministers. The situation was now 
very grave; the province had no superior courts and 
the commissions of oyer and terminer issued by 
the last legislature were faulty. Another meeting 

i C. R. IX, 707, 779, 786-87, 791. 

2 C. R. IX, 831-35, 862-63, 870-72, 879-80, 945-47, 966, 1009. 


of the assembly must be held or the people would call a 
convention of themselves. 1 

Not only in North Carolina, but also in all of the 
other colonies, there was now much agitation, and this 
was very strong and revolutionary in Massachusetts. 
This province in its conduct had been most offensive to 
the home government, and it was now to be made an ex- 
ample in the punishment inflicted for such a conduct. 
In 1774 its chief port was declared closed, its charter 
modified, losing thereby some of its privileges and 
rights, and its citizens were to be sent to England for 
trial when under the indictment of murder or other cap- 
ital offences. 2 This was the vigorous way in which the 
home government proposed to punish a rebellious prov- 
ince, and the effects of such action on the part of the 
crown were far different than had been expected ; it had 
a wonderful influence in uniting the colonies into one 
common idea and spirit of opposition and defence. 
Now the idea of popular sovereignty, which had been 
gradually developing in the different provinces, 
through constitutional struggles, was to become the ab- 
sorbing principle not only of each province but also 
of the newly created entity— the American spirit. The 
Americans were now to be reckoned with. In the past 
it had been the colonists, and with many different views, 
that England had to deal with. And these Americans 
now, fearing that a military despotism was rapidly 

>C. R. IX, 950, 968-69; Jones 99, 124; McRee's Iredell I, 193-217. 
2 Egerton, 218; 14 George III, c. 19; 14 George III, c. 45; 14 George 
III, C. 39; C. R. IX, 983-94. 


coming upon them, were determined to struggle for 
their liberties, even unto death. 1 

In North Carolina there was much of this same feel- 
ing and spirit. As Governor Martin did not call the 
assembly into session in May, 1774, according to the 
prorogation, the Whig leaders demanded a convention 
of the people which should take under consideration 
the situation of the province and also send delegates to 
the proposed continental congress; and in this they 
were acting upon the suggestion of the committee of 
correspondence of Massachusetts. A meeting of the 
citizens of Wilmington was held during July of this 
year, at which a call for a congress to take the place of 
the assembly, which the royal governor would not allow 
to meet, was issued. This meeting also declared in 
favor of a general continental congress, in which all the 
points at issue between the colonies and the English 
government should be discussed. 2 In other places 
similar meetings were held and with the same results. 
A provincial congress must be called into session in 
which the colonists from all parts of the province could 
have a voice ; and such a congress was held on the 25th 
of August of this year. The people were alarmed and 
were ready to act, even in violence. There were prac- 
tically no courts of justice and no assembly, and there 
was also little prospect of a change on the part of Gov- 
ernor Martin. 3 Not only was this congress, though 
wholly a revolutionary body, called, but the committees 

i McRee's Iredell I, 193-220, 245-54. 

2C. R. IX, 1016-17; McRee's Iredell I, 193-94. 

3 C. R. IX, 1025-41. 


of correspondence became committees of safety also; 
they assumed control of the local administration in 
many places. In short the whole province, as well as 
many of its counties, was assuming independence of 
the crown's administration, though it was openly pro- 
fessing allegiance to the king. 1 

The congress, with representatives from thirty-six of 
the forty-four counties, met in Newbern at the ap- 
pointed time in spite of the governor's proclamation to 
the contrary. It elected a presiding officer, John Har- 
vey, considered letters from the committees of corre- 
spondence of several of the colonies, appointed three 
delegates— Hooper, Hewes and Caswell— to represent 
the province at the continental congress to be held dur- 
ing September in Philadelphia, passed many resolves, 
among which were those supporting the house of Han- 
over upon the English throne. It declared fidelity to 
the crown but swore a hostile opposition to many of its 
ministers, and finally announced that unless the griev- 
ances were redressed by the first of October, 1775, all 
commercial relations between Great Britain and North 
Carolina would cease. Having done this much, and 
also having arranged for another meeting of the con- 
gress, it adjourned; 2 and this was a very decided step 
towards open revolt. 

Nor were the colonists, especially the Whig leaders, 
to stop here with their revolutionary proceedings. In 

iC. R. IX, 1050-61, 1073-75, 1079-81, 1088-91, 1095, 1098-1113; 
X, 63-64, 116; The Proceedings of the Safety Committee for the Town 
of Wilmington, 1-76, passim. 

2 C. R. IX, 1041-49. 


February of the next year a call was issued for a new 
provincial congress to be held in April, mainly for the 
purpose of electing delegates to a second continental 
congress. This congress, having delegates from thirty- 
three of forty-four counties, met at Newbern on April 
3, notwithstanding the governor's proclamation against 
such conduct, and at the same time and place as the 
meeting of the assembly which Martin had again called 
into session. John Harvey was both speaker of the 
lower house of the legislature and the presiding officer 
of the congress— a very strange situation. 1 To a long 
speech made by Governor Martin on the critical condi- 
tions of the colonies and in denunciation of such irreg- 
ular proceedings as the two provincial congresses in 
North Carolina and the one continental congress in 
Philadelphia, the lower house replied by declaring in 
favor of these bodies and by avowing its sympathy and 
support for the cause of Boston as being the common 
cause of all the American colonists. After four days' 
session without accomplishing any results the assembly 
was dissolved, and this was the last legislature under 
the crown. The congress, which was by this time the 
real governing body in the province, expressed its ap- 
proval in unqualified terms of the work of the first con- 
tinental congress, appointed delegates to a second, and 
instructed their presiding officer to call another pro- 
vincial congress in case of need. 2 

Governor Martin now realized that his control was 
gone and, therefore, began to look to his own protection ; 

iC. K. IX, 1108, 1126, 1145-46, 1177-79, 1185, 1187, 1204. 
2C. R. IX, 1178-85, 1190-96, 1201-05, 1201-05, 1212. 


he was not only closely watched by the committee of 
safety of Newbern but his letters also were intercepted 
by them. In May he escaped from Newbern to Fort 
Johnston, at the mouth of the Cape Fear Elver, in 
search of greater security, and soon went aboard his 
majesty's sloop Cruizer, which was stationed there. 1 
From the time of his flight from Newbern there was no 
longer a royal governor or administration in North 
Carolina; the crown's government had indeed been 
overthrown, never again to be restored. About this 
time Mecklenburg County on the western frontier drew 
up decidedly strong declarations of rights and practical 
independence of Great Britain, and within a month of 
this New Hanover and Cumberland, two counties in 
the southeastern part of the province, took a more rad- 
ical step organizing associations for the purpose of re- 
sisting the mother country by force of arms. In the 
meantime the committees of safety in practically all of 
the counties assumed control and administered the local 
affairs. 2 But there was great need of a general gov- 
ernment over all of the province; the colonists must 
now organize a provincial or state administrative sys- 
tem with its executive, legislative and judicial depart- 
ments, one which could take the place of the royal gov- 
ernment which they had just set aside. This was to be 
accomplished in part by a third provincial congress, 
having in it representatives from every district, which 

iC. R. IX, 1215, 1254-58; X, 1-69, 74-75, 69-71, 96-98, 141-51. 

2C. R. X, 9-12, 14-15, 20-30, 83, 87-93, 99-100, 105, 112-16, 120-22, 
134-37, 139-41, 151-52, 157-64; Proceedings of the Safety Committee 
for the Town of Wilmington, 1-76. 


met at Hillsboro on the 25th of August. 1 When this 
body met a wholly new work was presented to it, not 
one of tearing down an old system, as had been the case 
with the first two congresses, but of reorganization and 
the building up of a new one. With its meeting this 
chapter comes to a close. The royal government had 

iC. R. X, 141, 164-220. 


Inasmuch as this study is based almost entirely upon the 
sources, a comparatively small number of works will be in- 
cluded in the bibliography. However, every treatise which in 
any way deals with the subject, directly or indirectly, has 
been examined and considered. Not only have the collections 
in North Carolina and New York City, dealing with the pro- 
vincial life of North Carolina, been investigated, but most 
of the important works dealing with the other American 
colonies have also been under consideration. 


The Colonial Records of North Carolina; 10v.; 1886-1890. 
The State Records of North Carolina; 10v.; 1895-1902. 
The Swann Revisal of North Carolina Statutes; lv.; 1751-1752. 
The Davis Revisal of North Carolina Statutes; 2v.; 1764-1765. 
The Davis Revisal of North Carolina Statutes; lv.; 1773. 
The Iredell Revisal of North Carolina Statutes; lv.; 1791. 

Laws of North Carolina, 1715-1774, at intervals; these give in full 

several of the acts which the Revisals have only by title. 
Land Warrants. 
Land Surveys. 
Records of Land Grants. 
The Granville MS. Warrants, Indentures and Surveys. 


The Statutes at Large of England; 105v.; v. 14-28; 1762-1865. 
The Statutes of the Realm of England; 9-10 v.; 1810-1828. 
Hening, W. W— Statutes at Large of Virginia; 13v.; 1823. 



The New Annual Register; 1791. 

The Proceedings of the Safety Committee of the Town of Wilmington, 
North Carolina, 1774-1776; 1844. 

Bancroft, E. — Remarks on the Review of the Controversy between 
Great Britain and her Colonies; 1769, London; 1771, New Lon- 
don in New England. 

Moore, M. — The Justice and Policy of Taxing the American Colonies 
in Great Britain, Considered; 1765, Wilmington, N. C. 

The Necessity, etc.; 1765-1766; Author unknown. 

Pownall, T. — The Administration of the Colonies; 4 ed., 1768. 

Reflexions on Representation in Parliament; 1766, London; Author un- 

Stokes, A. — A View of the Constitution of the British Colonies in 
North America and the West Indies; 1783. 


Anson, W. R. — The Law and Custom of the Constitution; 2v.; 1896. 

Bassett, J. S. — The Constitutional Beginnings in North Carolina; J. 
H. U. Studies, v. 12; 1894. 

Bassett, J. S. — Landholding in Colonial North Carolina; T. C. His- 
torical Papers, Series II.; 1898. 

Bassett, J. S. — The Regulators of North Carolina; A. H. A. Reports; 

Battle, K. P. — History of the Supreme Court of North Carolina; 1889. 

Beer, G. L. — The Commercial Policy of England toward the American 
Colonies; 1893. 

Bohun, W. — Privilegia Londoni; 1702. 

Brickell, John — The Natural History of North Carolina; 1737. 

Bullock, C. J. — Essays on the Monetary History of the United States; 

Caruthers, E. W— The Life of Doctor David Caldwell; 1842. 

Chalmers, George — An Introduction to the History of the Revolt of 
the American Colonies; 2v. ; 1845. 

Chalmers, George — Opinions of Eminent Lawyers on English Juris- 
prudence, Chiefly on the Colonies; 1858. 

Cunningham, W. — The Growth of English Industry and Commerce, 
Modern Times; 1892. 

Doyle, J. A.— The English Colonies in North America; 3v.; 1882-1887. 


Egerton, H. E— A Short History of the British Colonial Policy; 1897. 

Foote, W. H— Sketches of North Carolina; 1846. 

Gneist, Rudolf — History of the English Constitution; 2v.; 1896. 

Gneist, Rudolf — History of the English Parliament; 1895. 

Greene, E. B. — The Provincial Governor in the English Colonies of 

North America; 1898. 
Hawks, F. L.— History of North Carolina, 1584-1729; 2v.; 1857-1858. 
Ingram, J. K. — A History of Political Economy; 1888. 
Jones, J. S. — A Defence of the Revolutionary History of the State of 

North Carolina; 1834. 
Lecky, W. E, H— The History of England in the Eighteenth Century; 

8v.; 1888-1891. 
Lord, E. L. — Industrial Experiments in the British Colonies; 1896. 
McCrady, E— The History of South Carolina under the Proprietary 

Government; 1897. 
McCrady, E. — The History of South Carolina under the Royal Govern- 
ment; 1899. 
McRee, G. J. — Life and Correspondence of James Iredell; 2v.; 1857. 
Marshall, A. — Principles of Economics; v. 1; 1898. 
Martin, F. X.— The History of North Carolina, to 1776; 2v.; 1829. 
Mills, R. — Statistics of South Carolina; Charleston, S. C; 1826. 
Raper, C. L. — North Carolina a Royal Province; 1901. 
Raper, C. L— The Church and Private Schools of North Carolina; 1898. 
Seeley, J. R. — The Expansion of England; 1888. 
Seeley, J. R.— The Growth of the British Policy; 2v.; 1895. 
Seligmann, E. R. A. — Essays in Taxation, 3rd ed.; 1900. 
Sikes, E. W. — The Transition of North Carolina from Colony to Com- 
monwealth; 1898. 
Tyler, M. C. — The Literary History of the American Revolution; v. 1 

(1763-1776); 1897. 
Van Tyne, C. H. — The Loyalists in the American Revolution; 1902. 
Waddell, A. M. — A Colonial Officer and His Times; 1890. 
Weeks, S. B. — The Religious Development in the Province of North 

Carolina; 1892. 
Weeks, S. B. — The Church and State in North Carolina; 1893. 
Weeks, S. B.— The Press of North Carolina in the 18th Century; 1891. 
Weeks, S. B.— A Bibliography of the Historical Literature of North 

Carolina; 1895. 
Williamson, H — The History of North Carolina; 2v.; 1812. 


Abercromby, James, 51 

Accounts of moneys, 48, 74-75, 95, 
127-128, 198, 200, 218-219 

Admiralty, court of, 23, 149-150, 

Agent in England, 11, 44, 51, 58, 
95, 187, 207-208, 222 

Aids to the crown, 57-58, 96 

Albemarle, Duke of, 3; section, 
5-7, 19, 20, 22-23, 90-91 

Allen, Eliezer, 83, 152 

American, 246 

Amherst, General, 183 

Anglican, 8, 9, 11, 13, 19, 170 

Anson County, 178, 182 

Appeals to king, 37 

Ashe, John Baptiste, 42, 46, 79, 83 

Ashlev (Shaftesbury), Lord, 3 

Assembly, 5, 12-13, 15-16, 19, 21, 
23-25, 30, 32, 34-35, 41, 44-46, 
48-49, 53, 56-57, 62-64, 66-69, 
81, 85-86, 88-89, 91-92, 94, 96, 
98, 104-108, 114, 122-123, 126- 
130, 132, 134-137, 141, 143-144, 
146-147, 150, 153-154, 156-157, 
159-164, 166, 169, 173, 179, 182- 
185, 196, 199, 202-204, 206-207, 
212, 225-227, 241-247, 249 

Attachment of non-residents, 97, 
158, 211-213, 215-216, 242-245 

Attorney-general, 33, 40, 42-43, 51, 
75, 152-153, 163, 170, 197 

Auditor-general, 113, 115-116, 122, 

Barbadoes or Barbadians, 17-19, 

Barter, 129-133, 138, 142 
Bedford, Duke of, 51 
Berkley, John, Lord, 3 
Berkley, Sir William, 3 

Berry, Charles, 83, 152 

Biennial Act, 87, 225 

Bills of credit, 126-144, 195, 203, 

Bishop of London, 31 

Board of Trade, 30, 32, 34-35, 37, 
43, 50-53, 55, 57-60, 67, 70-72, 
79-81, 83, 127, 169, 199, 208, 

Bodley, Joshua, 113 

Boston, 249 

Braddock, General, 180 

British Colonial Policy, 25, 168, 
183, 227, 232, 238 

Brunswick, 236 

Burke, 232 

Burrington, George, governor, 32; 
administration, 38-46; 47-48, 52, 
66, 70-72, 77, 79, 80, 88, 90, 99, 
135, 159, 187, 188, 189, 191, 193- 
195, 198 

Cape Fear River, 17-18, 69, 80, 

118, 174, 175, 236, 250 
Carey, Thomas, 9-15, 176 
Carolina, 1, 2, 4, 16-18, 20, 24, 

Carteret, Sir George, 3 
Carthagena, 179 
Caswell, 248 
Catawbas, 177 
Chancery, court of, 36, 75, 80, 117, 

149, 150-151, 197 
Charles I, 2 
Charles II, 2, 33 
Charleston, 5, 24 
Charters, king's, 2-4, 16, 27, 45, 

85, 102, 104, 150, 171, 222; of 

towns, 92 
Chatham, 232, 235 
Cherokees, 64, 182 




Child, Thomas, 51, 113 

Church of England, 8, 9, 11, 14, 

21, 31, 44 
Clarendon, Earl of, 3 
Clerks of court, 151, 165-166, 170, 

Coin (sterling), 129, 132-133, 135, 

137-141, 143, 145, 180, 188-191 
Colleton, Sir John, 3 
Commander-in-Chief, 23, 33, 168 

Commissioner of quit-rents, 115- 

116, 118 
Commissions to governor, 5, 13, 27, 

29, 38, 42, 46, 54, 60, 65, 71-72, 
85, 151, 159 

Committee, of correspondence, 244, 
247-248; of safety, 248, 250 

Conflicts, 40-44, 46-47, 49, 56, 63, 
129, 146, 159; study of, 186-220; 
land, 187-193; fees, 193-197; 
money-treasurer, 197-205; agent, 
205-208; courts, 208-216; privi- 
leges, 216-219; 221-222, 239, 
241, 243 

Congress, continental, 68-69, 247, 
249; provincial, 68-69, 247, 249 

Constitution, 3, 7, 20-21, 23, 105, 
227, 235-236, 241, 246; state, 

Corbin, Francis, 51, 113 

Council, 10-11, 13, 18, 22-26, 28- 

30, 33-36, 40, 42-43, 45, 50, 53, 
71-84; legislative and executive, 
72-73; land, 73-74; administra- 
tion, 74-75; justice, 75; legisla- 
tion, 75-77; efficiency, 77-78; 
85-86, 89, 91-94, 98, 100, 105, 
107, 118, 129-30, 152-153, 159- 
160, 165, 168, 170, 186, 190, 
192-194, 196, 198, 200, 202, 204, 
206, 208-209 

Counties (precincts), 43, 90-91, 
162, 166, 174, 178, 182, 221, 226, 
248, 250 

Courts, 95, 97, 187, 197, 222, 227, 
243-244, 247; chancery, 36, 75, 
80, 117, 149-151, 197; exchequer, 
29, 73, 115, 117, 149-150, 153; 
inferior, 59, 149, 158, 162-164, 

210-213, 245; justice, 26, 36-37, 
39; of magistrates, 149, 164- 
165, 243; superior (supreme), 
59, 82, 149, 151-163, 166, 210- 
211, 213, 215, 245; oyer and 
terminer, 36, 75, 149, 159-161, 
163, 212-213, 215, 244-245 

Craven, Earl of, 3 

Craven, James, 83 

Cromwell, protector, 228 

Crown, 1-4, 6, 7, 10, 13, 19, 21, 23, 
25-30, 32, 34-36, 38, 44, 48-49, 
54, 57-59, 62, 64, 66-68, 70-74, 
77-78, 80-82, 84-89, 91-96, 101- 
103, 108-112, 114-129, 134-136, 
139-140, 144-145, 148-149, 151- 
156, 158-160, 163-164, 166-168, 
176, 179, 181, 185-186, 188-194, 
196, 198-200, 205, 209-212, 214- 
217, 219-227, 237-246, 248, 250 

Culpepper, John, 6, 15 

Cumberland County, 250 

Currency (depreciation), 131, 133, 
135-141, 144, 184, 195 

Customs, king's, 6, 7, 31, 128, 140, 
145, 229, 231-232, 237 

Daniel, Robert, dep. governor, 7-10, 

Dartmouth, Lord, 67-68, 82 
Debt, 64-65, 132, 140, 144, 202, 

Defence, 1, 22-23, 25-26, 33-34, 36, 

48, 55-57, 62-64, 67, 96, 101, 125, 

138-140, 142; system, 168-85; 

development, 170-175; strength, 

175-176; local, 176-178; British, 

Depreciation, see Currency 
Deputies of proprietors, 23-25, 106 
De Rossett, Lewis, 83 
Dissenters, 8-14, 19, 21 
Dissolution of assembly, 35, 41-42, 

76, 92, 98, 202, 204^ 206, 243, 

Dobbs, Arthur, governor, 50-51 ; 

administration, 53-60; 62, 77, 

86, 91, 92, 99, 140-142, 175, 184- 

185, 199, 200, 203, 206-207, 209- 

210, 217, 221, 240 



Downfall of royal government, 221- 
251 ; constitution, 222-227 ; 
trade, 227-231; stamp act, 231- 
237 ; " regulation," 237-238 ; 
Martin, 238-251 ; provincial con- 
gress, 247-248; committees of 
safety, 249-250; end of old sys- 
tem, 250 

Durham, Bishop of, 3; county- 
palatine of, 3, 16 

Eastchurch, governor, 6, 7 

Edenton, 90, 154, 156 

Edgecombe County, 113 

Edward I, 103 

Egremont, Lord, 59 

Elections to lower house, 88 

Elizabeth, Queen, 2 

England, 3, 4, 6, 11, 18, 25, 28, 
32-34, 36, 39, 50-52, 57-59, 65, 
67, 72, 81, 86-87, 95-96, 103, 
124, 126-127, 131, 149-150, 153, 
166, 169, 182, 203, 206, 208, 210, 
215-216, 221-223, 225, 228-236, 
239, 242-243, 246 

Escheat, 28-29, 73, 107, 123-4 

Everard, Sir Richard, governor, 

Exchequer, court of, 29, 73, 115, 
117, 149, 150, 153 

Fees, 63, 95, 127, 135, 153, 187, 
193-199, 222, 238 

Feudal lords, 20-21, 108 

Finance, 1, 22, 26, 48, 57, 67, 95, 
99,100; system, 125-147; crown's 
policy, 129-147; sterling or coin, 
129-30; barter, 130-140; bills 
of credit, 130-144; notes, 141, 
144-145; taxation, 146-147,191, 
197-202, 204-205, 208, 239, 240- 

Florida, 179 

Forbes, William, 83 

Forts, 56, 63, 69, 96, 169, 174, 178, 

Freeholder, 18, 68, 86, 88 

French, 54, 56-57, 139, 168, 174, 
176, 178, 180, 184-185, 224, 228, 


Fundamental Constitutions, 3, 17, 
20-23, 105 

Gale, chief justice, 39 

George 111, 223, 231 

Georgia, 182 

Glover, William, 11-12 

Governor, 4-7, 10, 12-13, 15, 17- 
18, 22-40, 42-43, 47, 53-55, 57, 
60, 65, 66, 68-86, 89, 92-100, 
104, 106, 108, 114-117, 121, 124, 
126-128, 135, 138, 143, 145, 148- 
153, 158, 160-161, 164-165, 168- 
169, 171, 176, 179-180, 183, 186, 
189-191, 193-200, 202-210, 212, 
215-218, 221-222, 225, 235, 239- 
240, 244, 248-250; commission 
and instructions, 27-28; land, 
28-29 ; administration, 29-33 ; 
military, 33-34; legislation, 34- 
36; justice, 36-37 

Granville (Carteret), Earl of, 3, 
110-114, 124 

Grenville, 231-232 

Habeas Corpus, 37 

Halifax, 155, 156 

Hall, Enoch, 152 

Hamner, Daniel, 152 

Hanover, house of, 248 

Harnett, Cornelius, 83 

Harvey, John, 68-69, 248-249 

Hassell, James, 73, 83, 152 

Heath, Sir Robert, 2 

Henley, Peter, 152 

Heron, B., 83 

Hewes, 248 

Hillsboro, 62, 157, 251 

Hillsborough, Lord, 65, 82 

Holland, 228 

Home Government, 27, 30, 45, 50- 
57, 67, 70, 72, 81, 83, 128, 189, 
199, 226, 231, 234-235, 246 

Hooper, 248 

Howard, Martin, 152 

Hyde, Edward, governor, 5, 13-14 

Independence, spirit of, 233, 244 
Indians, 32, 34, 54-56, 64, 74, 131- 



132, 139, 168, 171-172, 174, 176- 
181, 183-184, 232 

Innes, James, 83 

Inspector of quit-rents, 115-116, 

Instructions to governor, 27, 35, 
38, 41-43, 58-59, 66-67, 70-72, 
81-82, 85, 89, 97-99, 106, 108, 
111, 118, 120, 122, 128, 135, 140, 
151, 153, 159, 161, 195-196, 198- 
199, 211, 214, 217, 219, 222, 234, 
241-242, 244 

Insurrection, 6, 7, 9, 14-15, 61-63, 
69, 96, 168-169, 176 

Jackson, Richard, 210 

Jamaica, 179; case, 206 

Jenoure, 79-80 

Johnston, Gabriel, governor, 42; 
administration, 46-53; 62, 77, 
80, 88, 90, 96, 99, 119, 134-135, 
138, 159, 190-191, 195, 199, 203 

Jones, Marmaduke, 83 

Jury, 36, 97, 161 

Justice, 1, 22, 25-26, 36-37, 41, 
43-44, 51, 61, 63, 66-67, 75, 97, 
99, 101, 117; system, 148-167; 
exchequer, 149-150; admiralty, 
149-150; chancery, 150-151; su- 
perior, 151-159; oyer and ter- 
miner, 159-161; inferior, 162- 
164; clerk, 165-166; process, 
166-167; 191, 208-210, 212, 216, 
226, 238-239, 241, 245, 247, 250; 
associate or assistant justices, 
59, 153-157, 159, 197, 208, 214; 
chief justice, 33, 36, 40, 74, 79, 
80, 151-157, 159-160, 166, 209, 
214; of peace, 36, 74-75, 153, 
162, 170, 197, 209 

King, 2-4, 22, 28, 55, 58-59, 61, 
65, 70, 72-73, 83, 88, 100, 111, 
118, 121-123, 152, 183, 191, 194, 
206-207, 212, 215, 223-224, 226, 
232, 235-237, 242, 245, 248 

Land, 1, 16, 22, 24, 26, 28-29, 36, 
43-45, 49-50, 56, 62, 73-74; sys- 
tem, 101-124; proprietor's, 102- 

109; Granville's,lll-114; crown's, 
114-124; 93-95, 128, 131, 133, 171, 
187-190, 192, 195, 222. 

Legislature, 8, 28-29, 32, 35-37, 
41-42, 44, 46-49, 51-52, 55, 59, 
65, 67, 73, 75-76, 82, 84-86, 97, 
100-01, 106, 112-113, 119-121, 
123, 126, 128-129, 131-132, 145, 
147-152, 155, 157-161, 163, 170- 
171, 174, 176-177, 186, 193, 196, 
201, 204, 206-207, 215-218, 226, 
239, 245, 249-250 

Little, William, 152 

Locke, John, 20 

Lords, feudal, 20-21, 108 

Loudon, Earl of, 180 

Lower House, 10, 12, 22, 24, 26-27, 
40, 42-43, 51, 57, 60, 63, 73, 75- 
76, 79, 84-85; institution of, 
85-100; privileges, 86-92; num- 
ber, 89-92; land, 93-94; admin- 
istration, 94-95; defence, 95- 
97; justice, 97; legislation, 95- 
99; 119, 126-127, 131, 138, 143- 
146, 164, 170, 186-222, 239-241, 
244-245, 249 

Magazine, 56, 174 
Magistrates, 149, 164-165, 243 
Manorial system, 16, 20-21 
Martial law, 33, 38, 169-170, 173 
Martin, Josiah, governor; admin- 
istration, 65-69; 70-71, 77, 82, 
99, 151, 158, 161, 164, 202-203, 
211-214, 217, 221, 238-240, 242- 
245, 247, 249 
Maryland, 180, 237 
Massachusetts, 239, 246-247 
McCulloh, Alexander, 83 
McCulloh, H. E., 83, 118-119 
McGuire, Thomas, 83 
Mecklenburg County, 227, 250 
Mercantilism, 228-230 
Military, 97, 191; militia, 33-34, 
48-49, 56, 61-62, 67, 96, 169- 
170, 172-173, 177-178, 182 
Miller, Thomas, 6, 7 
Money, 30, 48, 56, 58, 64, 86, 96- 
99, 101, 104, 106-107, 112, 125, 
127-128, 130-131, 134-136, 138- 



130, 141, 145-140, 183, 187, 198, 

200-201, 222, 238, 24] 
Montgomery, John, 4G, 152 
Moore, Roger, 83 
Moseley, Edward, 83 
Murray, James, 83 

Naval station, 175; officer, 237 
Navigation Acts, 229-230 
Neuse River, 118 
Newbern, 68-69, 90, 143, 154, 156, 

249, 250 
Newcastle, Duke of, 40, 79, 233 
New England, 239 
New Hanover County, 250 
New York, 60, 172, 180 
Notes, debenture, 128, 143-144; 

treasury, 141 

Oath, 10-11, 13, 19, 23, 29-30, 36, 

53, 55, 60, 65, 235, 236 
Orange County, 61-62, 178, 182 

Palatine, county, 3, 16; court of, 

Palin, John, 152 
Papists, 31 
Parliament, 4, 10, 26, 110-111, 

128, 142-144, 183, 222, 231, 233- 

234, 241-242 
Patentees, see Proprietors 
Pee Dee River, 118 
Pennsylvania, 180 
Philadelphia, 248-249 
Pollock, Cullen, 83 
Population, 28, 47, 55, 142, 145, 

Porter, Edmund, 42, 46, 79-80^ 
Precincts (counties), 43, 74-75, 

89-91, 122, 162 
Presbyterians, 173, 227 
Proclamation money, 119, 131, 

133, 139, 195, 197, 210-211 
Proprietors (patentees), 1-9, 11- 

13, 15-26, 39-40, 70, 85-87, 101- 

112, 114, 118-120, 122-126, 129- 

132, 148, 150, 153, 161-162, 168, 

171, 173, 175-176, 188, 190-191, 

194, 198-199 
Proprietary period, 1-26; pro- 

posed government, 16-22; actual 
government, 22-25; results of, 
25-26; 38, 106, 108, 135, 150, 
153, 159, 161 
Prorogation of assembly, 35, 41, 
76, 98, 212, 244-245, 247 

Quakers, 8, 10, 14, 173 

Quia Emptores, 103 

Quit-rents, 28-29, 46-48, 57, 73, 

104-106, 112, 114-116, 118-124; 

system, 119-121; 129-131, 133, 

135, 145, 187-193 
Quorum, 35, 78, 91, 159, 216-218, 


Raleigh, Sir Walter, 2 

Rebellion (insurrection), 6, 7, 9, 

14-15, 61-63, 69 
Receiver-general, 115-116, 129 
Register (registration), 18, 28, 44, 

108, 122-123, 197 
"Regulation," 61-64, 66-68, 96, 

143-144, 237-238 
Revolution, 65, 69-70, 221, 230, 

239, 246-248 
Rice, Nathaniel, 43, 46, 53, 73, 83 
Rowan, Matthew, 53, 73, 83, 140; 

county, 178, 182 
Royal period, 14, 22, 26, 27, 251 
Rutherford, John, 83 

Saint Augustine, 179 

Salaries, 46, 52-53, 60, 64, 119, 
127, 129, 138-139, 153, 214 

Salisbury, 156 

Seal of the Province, 30 

Secretary of State of England, 32, 
40, 50, 59, 61 

Secretary of Province, 33, 40, 42, 
74-75, 115, 165 

Shaftesbury (Ashley), Earl of, 3 

Sheriff, 63, 74, 145, 147, 201-2, 

Sloops, Cruizer, 69, 175, 250; Mar- 
tin, 175; Diligence, 236 

Smith, Adam, 228 

Smith, William, 42, 79, 83, 152 

Smuggling, 231-232 

Socage tenure, 102, 104, 119 



Society for Propagation of Gospel, 

Soldiers, see Troops 
Sons of Liberty, 237 
South Carolina, 1, 8, 13, 26, 101, 

109, 172, 179, 181-182, 192, 207, 

Sovereignty, popular, 224, 238, 

241, 246 
Spaight, Richard, 83 
Spanish, 96, 174, 176, 179, 225 
Speaker of Lower House, 93 
Stamp Act, 231-237 
Stephens, Samuel, governor, 19 
Sterling (coin), 129, 132-133,135, 

137-143, 145, 180, 188-191 
Suffrage, 88 
Surveyor-general, 19, 74, 115-116, 

Swann, John, 83 

Tax, 8, 9, 25, 38, 57, 74, 87, 95, 
130-138, 140-142, 144-147, 173- 
174, 201-205, *214, 231, 233-235, 
237-238, 240-241 
Towns, 90-92, 147, 221, 226 
Trade, 49, 87, 95, 228-232, 235-236 
Treasurer, 74, 95, 128, 145-146, 
187, 198-201, 205 

Troops, 56, 58-59, 96-97, 99, 140, 

177-191, 181-183, 232 
Tryon, William, governor, 54-55; 

administration, 60-65; 66-67, 77, 

82, 99, 143, 200-201, 203, 217, 

221, 235, 237, 240 
Tuscaroras, 130, 171-172, 176-177, 


Upper House, 73, 75-76, 81-82, 85, 
95, 97-99, 192, 196-197, 204- 
205, 207, 213-216, 218-219, 243- 

Vernon, Admiral, 179 

Vestry law, 9, 59 

Vice-Admiral, 23, 34 

Virginia, 3, 14, 101, 109, 111, 179- 

180, 183-184, 190, 192, 237 
Waddell, Colonel, 181-182 
Walpole, Robert, 53, 233 
War, 55-57, 59, 67, 98, 128, 130- 

132, 139-140, 168-169, 171, 173, 

176-179, 183-184, 200, 225, 232- 

233, 238 
Wilmington, 91, 155-156, 235-236, 


Yeamans, Sir John, 19 

The Foundations of American 
Foreign Policy 



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